Taoiseach Enda Kenny has bemoaned the lack of clarity from Britain on its post-Brexit relationship with the European Union.
Speaking in Brussels at the conclusion of the final summit before British prime minister Theresa May triggers the formal legal exit from the EU, Mr Kenny displayed some impatience at the lack of progress.
The Taoiseach indicated his annoyance at London’s continuing vagueness about what exactly its relationship will be with the EU, in particular its attitude to membership or otherwise of the EU customs union.
“We didn’t cause this,: he said. “We have to put up with the consequences of it.
“In order to deal with the consequences we have to know what the relationship that’s being sought by Britain is, beyond having the closest possible relationship with the EU.”
Pressed on whether he thought there was some way Britain could remain within the Customs Union, Mr Kenny gave little away from his meeting with the prime minister.
“I speak in respect of the Irish Government and the Irish people,” he said.
Ms May has said she wants the “closest possible” relationship with the EU’s single market. However, no clarity has been forthcoming as to what that will mean, or how it would work.
Government sources have indicated there is a growing frustration with London’s failure to reveal what Ms May’s intentions are, particularly in relation to the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the summit yesterday, Mr Kenny confirmed that there would be a special summit of EU leaders on 6 April, provided the British prime minister “moves Article 50 by March 15”.
“I suppose Article 50 being triggered will bring some clarity in that regard,” said Mr Kenny.
“I would point out that the officials dealing with this in Dublin have been in very close contact with their British counterparts, indeed with Brussels, with Belfast and at home.”
As revealed in the Irish Examiner last month, the Government has already begun scouting checkpoints in border counties in preparation for the “worst case scenario”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved