Varadkar-Johnson talks indicate 'positive pathway' in Brexit negotiations: Micheál Martin

Varadkar-Johnson talks indicate 'positive pathway' in Brexit negotiations: Micheál Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has described yesterday’s talks between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as an indication of a "positive pathway” in Brexit negotiations.

Mr Martin told Newstalk Breakfast that he has consistently said that the British-Irish dimension is key in Brexit talks and that bilateral engagement was welcome.

“It is important that it helps to build up trust between the two countries and indicates a positive pathway,” he said.

However, he warned that there will be “significant challenges” to ensure an agreement is reached, and said it was important that all involved refrain from “public or megaphone diplomacy”.

There had been too much “to-ing and fro-ing” in public on all sides, he said.

“In diplomacy there can be no triumphalism. There has to be a resolution of issues without people losing face,” he said.

Nobody wants a no-deal Brexit – not Ireland, the UK or the EU, he said. It is the responsibility of politicians to protect jobs and a no deal would jeopardise jobs on the island of Ireland and in the UK.

If the spirit was there and an agreement reached then the EU will follow, said Mr Martin.

It will require patience on the part of the Brexiteers, he added. Dealing with the EU can be frustrating as EU treaties involved very detailed legal issues. “That could mean some snarls,” he warned.

The important issue is finding a resolution as Brexit remains a significant threat.

Budget 2020 had been overshadowed by Brexit, said Mr Martin, but it remained obvious that “the cupboard is pretty bare” in terms of Government finances.

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