Deal on Irish border remains “doable”, says Ireland’s deputy prime minister

Grattan Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin Ireland.

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, has said he is optimistic about resolving a deal on the Irish/British border after confirming talks with the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party.

Speaking on Friday, Coveney said: “I think it is doable … We are not where we need to be today, but I think it is possible to get to be where we need to be in the next few days,”

He continued that the country needed “some movement and more flexibility than we have seen to date” but an upcoming deal was possible.

Whilst the British government have continually stated they do not want a hard border, there has yet to be any clarification on how this would be achieved.

“What the British government has been asking of the Irish government is just: ‘Trust us, we’ll solve these issues with a broad, bold trade agreement.’ And that may not be possible, we don’t know,” said Coveney on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We can’t be asked here to leap into the dark by opening up phase two discussions in the hope these issues may be resolved.”

He continued that the Irish government were waiting for some sort of writing that the border would stay the same post-Brexit.

“What we are looking for, and I hope what we will manage to achieve and negotiate with the British negotiating team between now and 14 December, is an agreed wording whereby we can agree the parameters within which we can find a solution that prevents the re-emergence of a border on the island of Ireland, and all of the negative consequences that flow from that.”

Whilst leaving the EU will mean Britain will have to leave the single market, the UK government do not necessarily believe this will have to lead to changes with the Irish border. It is attempting to avoid a hard border through various strategies including an increased reliance on technology.