Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Irish PM: Any changes to Brexit cannot undermine backstop

Irish PM: Any changes to Brexit cannot undermine backstop

Nigel Dodds, the DUP's leader in Westminster, met with May in Downing Street on Thursday lunchtime as the Prime Minster sought to calm fears over the so-called "backstop" in the Brexit deal.

This arrangement would see the United Kingdom remain closely aligned to European Union rules if the two sides' future relationship is not settled by the end of 2020, when the proposed transition period will end, or if another way is not found of preventing physical checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

He reiterated the party's concerns over the proposed border backstop, which proponents in Europe and the Republic have called an insurance policy to protect frictionless all-island trade. "Contrary to pro-EU spin, the backstop is not the best of both worlds", the north Belfast MP said in a statement.

"EU spokespersons have gone out of their way to reiterate that there will be no renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement".

Mr Dodds said: "The Irish Republic's "no deal" preparations published just before Christmas have laid bare the nonsense propaganda about a hard border".

Plans were set in motion after the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) asked for reinforcements to deal with potential troubles caused by a hard border.

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Since Mrs May pulled the vote Mr Dodds said the DUP had engaged with the UK Government in an attempt to move forward towards a deal which could command support in the House of Commons.

Students from Northern Ireland now pay 3,000 euro (£2,700) a year towards their tuition, the same as those from Ireland and the rest of the EU.

The Brexit spokesperson for the DUP, Sammy Wilson, said that he was "more alarmed" than ever regarding the impact that the deal would have on Northern Ireland.

"The threat of no deal can be taken off the table at any time by the United Kingdom parliament either by ratifying the agreement that the 28 governments have made or by seeking the extension to Article 50 to allow more time for us to negotiate what needs to be negotiated".

However, EU leaders are against reopening the deal to insert such a specific clause, and speaking in Dublin on Thursday, Varadkar doubled-down on that position.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, said Ireland was "now preparing for no deal with the same level of seriousness that we would" Theresa May's deal, adding that he and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had spoken and agreed that there could be no change in the offer to the UK.

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