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Coveney hits out at 'nonsense' Sun story about Northern Irish border

Yesterday, an internal EU paper was published which suggested that it is essential for Northern Ireland to remain in the single market.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS Minister has called a story in today’s UK Sun “nonsense”.

Simon Coveney responded on Twitter to the paper’s story headlined “IRA’s political wing Sinn Fein to blame for new Brexit standoff over Northern Ireland border, ministers say”.

The story outlined how UK minister told the paper that Leo Varadkar had been forced to harden his stance on the post-Brexit border “under heavy political pressure from Gerry Adams’ Sinn Fein”.

It reads:

Senior Tories last night warned the Irish demand risks sinking the whole Brexit negotiation.

Former Cabinet minister and DexEU committee member John Whittingdale said: “If the Taoiseach takes the view that protecting his political flank is his priority, he must understand that there will be no deal.

“Sinn Fein should not be trying to profit from making a Brexit deal very hard to reach.”

The piece does not mention whether it asked the Irish government for comment, but Coveney shot back.

This article is nonsense. Irish Govt is consistent and firm on preventing Hard Border. Too important an issue to be spinning inaccuracies!

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, Michelle O’Neill MLA and party Vice President Mary Lou McDonald, who are in New York, yesterday held a 20-minute phone conversation with the British Prime Minister Theresa May on the current situation in the north.

Yesterday, an internal EU paper was published which suggested that it is essential for Northern Ireland to remain in the single market and the customs union to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The paper suggests that the EU’s guiding principles underlined that an important part of political economic, security, societal and agricultural activity on the island of Ireland currently operates on a cross-border basis, “underpinned by joined EU membership of the EU and Ireland.”

Both the EU and the UK have already committed to protecting the Good Friday Agreement, the paper says.

Read: Northern Ireland ‘must stay’ in customs union post-Brexit to prevent hard border, says EU

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