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Simon Coveney: 'Ireland has defended itself against the vulnerabilities Brexit forced upon us'

The EU and the UK published full 1,246-page text of the treaty yesterday.

Image: PA Images

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Simon Coveney has expressed hope that this week’s agreement on a post-Brexit deal will mark the beginning of a new relationship between the UK and Ireland.

The EU and the UK published full 1,246-page text of the treaty yesterday, less than a week before the deal is due to be implemented.

Cabinet is set to be updated on the deal on Tuesday, before the official end of the Brexit transition period on New Year’s Day.

Expressing relief at the agreement of a deal, Coveney said issues specifically relating to Ireland – including the NI border, the peace process and tariffs – had all been “put to bed”.

“When you weigh up the enormous damage of a no deal, I think Ireland has defended itself against the vulnerabilities Brexit forced upon us,” the minister said.

“The protection from the Irish protocol and this deal is beyond what many predicted would be possible.”

Coveney also warned that there would still be changes from next week when the UK fully exits EU, and confirmed that Cabinet would discuss supports for the most affected sectors as a result.

But he said his feeling upon agreement of the deal was one of “relief… tinged with regret” because the UK is set to leave the EU.

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“Ireland is now focused on building a new relationship with the UK outside of the EU. Personally I hope talk of ‘Brexit’ will fade away,” Coveney added.

The deal is yet to be ratified by the EU’s 27 Member States and by the UK’s House of Commons.

However, member states have indicated they will formally back the deal within days, while British MPs and peers will are expected to pass the deal on 30 December, when the Conservatives will receive support for the treaty from opposition Labour MPs.

Contains reporting from Press Association.

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