Helen McEntee tells UK 'your own secretaries have admitted' there is no solution to backstop

Helen McEntee tells UK 'your own secretaries have admitted' there is no solution to backstop
Helen McEntee

The European Affairs Minister has said Ireland would "absolutely not" accept the reopening of the UK's Withdrawal Agreement.

Despite the Commons voting for an "alternative arrangement" to replace the backstop, Ms McEntee told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are 72 hours on and not only do we not have any proposals, but your own secretaries have admitted that they don't have any and that there is no solution here."

She said proposed technological methods for keeping the border open were "not the answer", telling Today: "This is about protecting a peace process ... No amount of technology can address that."

Ms McEntee said: "This was a deal that was negotiated with the UK, by the UK. They weren't bystanders in a separate room, there were discussions, negotiations, there were compromises on both sides.

The fact that we now have a deal that took that long to be negotiated and that deal has now been voted against by the very Prime Minister that negotiated it is extremely difficult.

Minister McEntee says there is no point delaying Brexit unless the UK has a clear plan to get a deal agreed.

Ms McEntee says the EU would most likely support the March 29 deadline being pushed back but said it would be pointless unless Britain sets out a plan for getting a deal through the House of Commons.

"I think there would be a very clear ask from the other member states as to what exactly it is we are trying to achieve," said Minister McEntee.

"There is no point in looking for an extension if we end up back to the same place in three months' time.

"We need to have a clear direction from the UK Government as to what it is we want to achieve."

Ms McEntee said Tánaiste Simon Coveney is expected to discuss Brexit's impact on the Good Friday Agreement with the US Government during a visit to Washington next week.

PA & Digital Desk

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