Tag Archives: Brexit

The cheese choice is yours.

This morning.

Fergus Lenehan tweetz:

Was in Lidl in Leipzig [Germany] today. They had both British and Irish cheddar cheese on the shelves. Turn the packages over & you can see they’re the same cheese, from Cookstown in County Tyrone…Northern Irish identities in action, dominating British & Irish branding?


From top: DUP Leader Arlene Foster: Peter Brooke in this morning’s The Times

Writing in today’s Belfast Telegraph, Ms Foster is critical of the Brexit deal and says Mr Johnson agreed to greater than necessary checks between Northern Ireland and Britain.

She also said that he settled for what she calls a “one-sided” consent mechanism involving Stormont.

However, at the beginning and end of the article, Ms Foster states the party wants to get Northern Ireland moving again.

She also says that the party wants Brexit to be delivered and devolution restored.

Arlene Foster: We cannot back a deal that is not in Northern Ireland’s best interests Arlene Foster, Belfast Telegraph)

Foster confirms DUP’s ten MPs will oppose Brexit deal in vote (BBC)

Last night.

Channel 4 broadcast an interview with a member of the “New IRA” who said any border infrastructure, as a consequence of Brexit, would be a “legitimate target for attack”.

The man spoke to Channel 4 News on condition that his identity would be disguised and his voice would not be recorded.

So his words were spoken by an actor for the recording – drawing a significant response from viewers about his accent.


New IRA says border infrastructure would be ‘legitimate target for attack’ (Channel 4)

Earlier: “It Will Ensure There Are No Checks”

RTÉ Europe Editor Tony Connelly; tweet from Mr Connelly

RTÉ Europe Editor Tony Connelly has tweeted that a Brexit deal has been done.

In the past few moments, Mr Connelly told Seán O’Rourke, on RTÉ Radio One:

“A deal has been done. There is a text which has been concluded and we’re expecting a statement from Michel Barnier in the next while.

“But this is extremely important because EU leaders are arriving and, as of five minutes ago, they haven’t got a text to look at. So a text has now been concluded.

“All of the outstanding issues on VAT, consent, customs, everything now, appears to have been concluded.

“But, of course, we don’t know for sure if the DUP are fully satisfied and on board but from the Brussels’ perspective, a deal has been done.”

Asked if he knows if the DUP has accepted the deal or if this is a deal between London and Brussels, Mr Connelly said:

“Well, that’s the nature of these negotiations, it’s a team of British negotiators with a mandate from No 10 Downing Street and a team of EU negotiators with a mandate from the member states.

“So this, one presumes, has gotten over the line on the basis that Downing Street is happy with it. By extension, one assumes that the DUP must be on board. But again we’ve had scenarios in the past where the DUP haven’t been on board so we just have to wait and see how this plays out.”

More as he gets it.

The European Commission has released the above letter from President of the European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker to President of the European Council Donald Tusk.


BREAKING: EU-UK reach agreement on Brexit deal (RTÉ)



Chief Brexit Negotiator for the European Union Michel Barnier holds a press conference on this morning’s developments.


The revised withdrawal agreement can be read here


Leader of the DUP Arlene Foster; a statement from the DUP this morning

This morning.

The Democratic Unionist Party released a statement saying the party cannot support the current Brexit deal that is being negotiated between the UK and the European Union.

DUP says it cannot support current Brexit deal being negotiated (RTE)

Meanwhile, earlier this morning.

Just after 1am.

RTÉ Europe Editor Tony Connelly tweeted the latest on Brexit:

Ok, here, late in the day, is what RTÉ News understands EU and UK negotiators have agreed as the revised backstop. Bear with me…I’ll break it down into Customs and Consent.

Customs: Northern Ireland is legally in the UK’s customs territory, but would it would apply the EU’s rules and procedures on tariffs.

Northern Ireland would also be aligned with the rules of the single market for industrial goods and agri-food products, meaning both regulatory and customs checks and controls on the Irish Sea for goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

However, the extent of the controls would be reduced thanks to a series of tariff exemptions.

There would be an automatic exemption for personal goods and possessions carried by those travelling back and forth between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, or, for example, if an individual was moving house.

However, there would potentially be a broader category of goods and tradable products that could be exempt from tariffs and controls if there was no risk whatsoever of such goods entering EU’s single market across the land border.

These categories of goods would be decided on in the future by the Joint Committee of EU and UK officials by consensus.

The Joint Committee was established in the original Withdrawal Agreement as a way for both sides to manage the new arrangements.

The intensity and scope of Irish Sea checks would be limited by a risk-analysis. However, the EU would, through the Joint Committee, have a veto over which kinds of goods would enjoy an exemption from tariffs and controls.

There would also be a system of rebates for goods shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland if those goods attracted an EU tariff that was higher than the UK tariff.

Consent: The mechanism essentially provides a qualified opt-out of the revised backstop arrangements via the NI Assembly.

Northern Ireland would take on the new customs and regulatory regime for four years after the end of the transition period, which is due to conclude at the end of 2020.

At that point Stormont would have to take a view as to whether or not to opt out of the new arrangements.

If Stormont voted to opt out, then there would be a two year cooling off period, during which all sides would have to find an alternative way of complying with the Good Friday Agreement and avoiding a hard border.

If at the end of the two years no alternative was found, then the Protocol would lapse, meaning Ireland would be back to a hard border scenario.

However, if the Stormont Assembly were to collapse during that period, then the default would be that the Protocol arrangements would continue to apply (ie, the revised backstop).

But there will be also be important variations on how Stormont votes for a potential exit.

If Stormont decides to use a simple majority vote, which is seen as less favourable to the DUP, then if that vote to opt out does not succeed, then Stormont would vote again four years on an opt out.

However, if Stormont decided to go for a cross-community majority vote, which is seen as more favourable to the DUP, and the vote did not pass, then Stormont would have to wait another eight years before having another opt-out vote.

Complex, convoluted, politically fraught, but does it square the circle? It’s a weighted approach that gives the DUP cover but the opt out might never take effect because if a hard border looms SInn Féin could just collapse the assembly and the default is the revised backstop.

This morning, Mr Connelly tweeted:

Senior EU official: consent issue is not currently the subject of last minute negotiations.

Senior EU official: at a certain point some [leader] will say before we approve the text we need to study it, we fully trust the Commission, but that could be a problem.

Senior EU official: People are waiting for the text, they are waiting to translate it into 23 official languages.

Senior EU official: consent is a key question. Is it the issue which remains open at the level of negotiators? That issue was discussed and there was agreement. But of course nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. But Barnier was clear that on consent there was agreement.

Senior EU official: there could be another summit before the end of October.

EU-UK agreement reached over customs, consent in post-Brexit future (RTE)

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

RTÉ’s Europe Editor Tony Connolly tweetz:

BREAKING: Michel Barnier has told EU Commissioners he is optimistic of getting a deal done today, RTÉ News understands.

However, there still outstanding issues, so this could go right to the wire.

It’s understood VAT has emerged as a last-minute problem: if NI remains inside the EU’s VAT system, essential for North-South trade, then a new mechanism will have to be created for East-West trade, as the UK will be in its own VAT system.

However, it’s understood officials are confident that a solution can be found.

It’s understood consent is also proving difficult, with a senior EU source saying the DUP are pushing to restore a tighter Stormont lock.

The third big hurdle is on the “level playing field” provisions. The EU is concerned at Boris Johnson’s bid to dilute Theresa May’s commitments to not stray far from the EU’s environmental, state aid, social and labour standards.

The meeting of EU ambassadors, whom Barnier will brief, is still scheduled for 14hr CET, suggesting that the timings are still on course.

Barnier ‘optimistic’ of Brexit deal today (RTÉ)


Britain’s Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay

Sky News reports:

Boris Johnson will write a letter to the EU asking for a delay to Brexit beyond 31 October if he fails to get an exit deal approved by parliament by Saturday, the Brexit secretary has confirmed.

Stephen Barclay told a committee of MPs that the prime minister will “comply” with legislation, aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit at the end of the month, passed by opposition MPs last month.

PM will write letter to EU asking for Brexit delay if no deal by Saturday (Greg Heffer, Sky News)

Pics: Politics For All


Mr Connolly tweetz:

BREAKING: two senior EU sources say the main stumbling block to a deal has been removed with the DUP accepting the latest proposals on consent… Optimism a deal can now be done…

But DUP leader Arlene Foster tweetz:

‘EU sources’ are talking nonsense. Discussions continue. Needs to be a sensible deal which unionists and nationalists can support.


Mr Connolly addz:

At the risk of getting into a source arms race, I have four sources confirming the original report…

Minister for Fopreign Affaira and Tanaiste Simon Coverney with Michael Barnie, EU Brexit negotiator in Luxembourg this morning


This morning.


EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier writes:

I have just debriefed EU27 Ministers in Luxembourg.

unity remains strong. We want an agreement that works for everybody: the whole #UK & whole #EU.

On route back to Brussels to take stock w/ my colleagues.

Talks are difficult but I believe an agreement is still possible….

Top pic: DFA


This morning.

Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Farmers blocking Cormac Healy from Meat Industry Ireland from arriving at a new Beef Task Force who met for the first time this morning at the Department of Agriculture to examine the future of the beef industry in Ireland.

The task force was agreed to by beef farmers and organisations, and representatives of the beef processing sector last month following weeks of protests.


Leah Farrell/RollingNews


The first meeting of the newly formed Beef Market Taskforce has been adjourned until further notice.

The adjournment comes following angry scenes at the entrance to the Department of Agriculture offices where farmers had been protesting since early this morning.

Beef Taskforce adjourned after protests outside Dept of Agriculture (RTÉ)