Tag Archives: Tony Connelly

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)

Last night.

RTÉ News reported that the British Government is allegedly proposing to build customs posts between five and ten miles along both sides of the border to replace the backstop, as part of the UK’s Brexit deal proposals.

However, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has dismissed the idea.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also dismissed the leaked proposal but told BBC this morning that it’s a “reality” that some customs checks will be needed.

Further to this…

Richard Cantwell tweetz:

Here’s a map [above] showing what a 10-mile buffer zone along *both* sides of the border would look like.

There are over 625,000 people living in the zone.

Last night, RTÉ’s Europe Editor Tony Connelly tweeted:


Tánaiste Simon Coveney responded…

Brexit: Boris Johnson dismisses leaked UK border plan rejected by Dublin as out-of-date – live news (The Guardian)


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (far right) at the World Economic Forum in Davos this morning

This afternoon.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is currently in Davos for the World Economic Forum, responded to questions about Brexit.

RTÉ’s Brexit correspondent Europe Editor Tony Connelly is there…

More as he gets it.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney meeting with Michel Barnier this morning

Tony Connelly, of RTÉ, reports:

The EU’s chief negotiator has said the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Irish backstop, was “the best deal possible” for the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

In an interview with RTÉ News, Mr Barnier dismissed reports of a bilateral arrangement between the UK and Ireland, saying the EU negotiated as one team.

Mr Barnier said the focus was now on the future relationship and the Political Declaration which sketches that relationship.

He said the EU was prepared to work again on the declaration to make it more “ambitious”.

EXCLUSIVE: Barnier insists Brexit deal is the best possible (RTE)

Pic: Tony Connelly