Taoiseach: Most EU leaders understand Ireland is a ’special case’ in Brexit talks

Enda Kenny has said that most EU leaders understand Ireland is a "special case" when it comes to Brexit and he has warned Britain that fresh borders in the North will have "very serious consequences", writes Juno McEnroe, Political Correspondent in Malta.

Speaking at press conference at the EU summit in Malta today, Mr Kenny outlined how leaders had also discussed US President Donald Trump as well as the migration crisis.

The meeting of union leaders is the first since British Prime Minister Theresa May set out plans for a ’hard Brexit’ during a recent speech and ahead of Britain’s exit being triggered next month.

Mr Kenny said he had spoken to many leaders at the summit, including from Sweden, Denmark, Italy as well as Ms May among others.

Asked what impression he had left with Ms May with today as well as during her visit to Dublin earlier in the week, Mr Kenny said: "My discussions with the Prime Minister today were in relation to our meeting in Dublin on Monday, which was a good meeting where we set out in a frank and constructive way the issues as we see them."

He also added that Ms May and other EU leaders know very clearly understood that Ireland needed special consideration when Brexit is triggered.

“We repeated this at our meeting on Monday, the common travel area between Ireland and Britain and Ireland and the North has been there since 1922 [with Britain]," he said.

"We do not see any change in that and its not just a travel arrangement, it’s also a residency and labour arrangement."

Both countries had committed to "no return" to a hard border and this meant this that this is a "really serious issue" for Ireland and for Britain.

Mr Kenny added: "Because I did point out before that any semblance of a hard border would have very negative consequences and the British government fully understands that and the Prime Minister fully understands that.

"I made it crystal clear and so plain, that’s a real issue."

He also stressed that other EU leaders at the summit now knew Ireland’s position.

"When the United Kingdom leave we will be the only country without a land border in the EU. We have these particular circumstances, we have a special case already there and it is quite unique.

"I think most of the leaders around the council table fully understand that."


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