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EU-UK deal is positive start to a process which must ensure fair deal for entire island of Ireland

The Social Democrats have said today’s agreement between the UK and the EU on the first phase of Brexit negotiations is a positive start to the process of negotiations which must lead to a fair deal for the entire island of Ireland.

The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:

“Today’s agreement allows us to progress beyond the first phase of this important process. I welcome the fact that the UK and the EU have been able to come to an agreement, particularly considering the difficulties encountered at the start of this week.

“The commitment in the text issued this morning to maintain full alignment within the rules of the internal market and customs union on the island of Ireland in the absence of a satisfactory UK-EU agreement is a most important fall-back position.

“However, we are in no doubt that very real challenges lie ahead for the island of Ireland and for Irish businesses as these negotiations move to the next crucial phase, and that the devil will be in the detail. In Ireland, what must be paramount is that we honour the Good Friday Agreement in its totality and that these negotiations lead to a fair deal for the entire island and the avoidance of any hard border with Northern Ireland.

“The UK’s decision to leave the EU is hugely regrettable, and while we maintain that the wrong decision was made, we are committed to working to minimise its negative effects on Ireland. We commend the hard work of the negotiators in reaching an agreement today and look forward to further progress in the months ahead.”