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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 17 August 2022

On Brussels trip, Kenny says Brexit deal should include provision for united Ireland

Kenny said he also believed the triggering of Article 50 would be delayed a little.


TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said any Brexit deal needs to include a provision to allow Northern Ireland to rejoin the EU should reunification with the Republic ever happen.

Kenny’s comments represent a re-stating of policies he’s discussed before. He was answering questions after a meeting in Brussels with European Commission President Jean Claude Junker and the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Speaking last month he said that while a united Ireland wasn’t something he was interested in pursuing as part of the talks, language relating to the possibility should be retained as part of the UK’s exit deal.

“The Good Friday Agreement has been referred to by [Junker],” the Taoiseach said today.

Internationally binding, there since 1998, voted on by citizens North and South, internationally launched in the UN. We want that to remain in such a position that the language of what is contained in the Good Friday Agreement would be contained in the negotiation outcome.
In other words that if at some future time, whenever that might be, if it [reunification] were to occur, that Northern Ireland would have ease of access to join as a member of the European Union again and we want that language inserted into the negotiated treaty of the negotiated outcome.

The Taoiseach has been talking about reunification and the Good Friday Agreement in relation to Brexit since last summer.

“The discussions and negotiations that will take place over the next period should take into account the possibility, however far out that it might be, that the clause in the Good Friday Agreement might be triggered,” he said, after commenting on the issue at the MacGill summer school in Donegal’s Glenties in the weeks after the Brexit vote.

In that if there is clear evidence of a majority of people wishing to leave the United Kingdom and join the Republic, that that should be catered for in the discussions that take place.
In the same way that East Germany was dealt with when the wall came down. It was able to be absorbed into West Germany and not to have to go through the long and tortuous process of applying for membership of the European Union.

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Kenny will be back in Brussels for more Brexit-related meetings next week– this time with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani as well as Barnier.

The much-anticipated European Council meeting where UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to formally trigger Article 50, signalling the start to the Brexit negotiations, also takes place next month on 9 and 10 March.

Speaking today Kenny said he also believed the triggering of the provision would be delayed, telling reporters:

We had expected the Prime Minister was going to move Article 50 on a particular date. I think that might be delayed a little.

Jetting off: Enda’s ‘last lap’ mission of diplomacy and negotiation starts today >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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