Coveney says Ireland will "hold its nerve" over Brexit border

The Tánaiste says Ireland and the EU are completely "united in their position"

Coveney says Ireland will "hold its nerve" over Brexit border

Simon Coveney. Photo: Sam Boal/

The Tánaiste has warned that Ireland must "hold its nerve" as delays in the Brexit process look set to create further economic uncertainty over the summer months.

Simon Coveney said the arrival of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Dublin today will illustrate once again that Ireland and the EU are completely "united in their position."

Mr Juncker will address a joint sitting of the Oireachtas this morning as an act of solidarity ahead of next week's key European Council meeting.

On the PAt Kenny Show, Minister Coveney said the visit will highlight a clear message: "The Irish issues are European issues - and these negotiations need to produce results consistent with what the British Government has already committed to."

"We have clear commitments in writing," he said. "Guarantees around no physical border infrastructure or related checks or controls on the island of Ireland and we need to see follow through on that."

He admitted there is growing frustration over Britain's failure to produce workable solutions, labelling the suggestions published earlier this month "inadequate quite frankly in terms of solving the Irish border issue."

"There is a sense of frustration, there is no doubt about that, within the Irish Government and within the EU political system," he said.

"Most of the time was spent, between March and June when progress was needed, with Britain negotiating with itself rather than Britain negotiating with the EU and the EU taskforce."

He warned that the "stakes are very high" as the talks entre their final months.

"Michel Barnier has made it very clear that there will be no withdrawal treat between Britain and the EU if there is not a functioning Irish backstop within that treaty," he said.

"So the stakes are very high and that is going to create uncertainty now over the summer months - which his very unwelcome.

"But this is a time for Ireland to hold its nerve and we will because we have strong solidarity across the EU on our position because it is the right position."

The minister said the EU will only accept a "legally operable text within the withdrawal treaty which needs to be concluded by the end of October providing the reassurances necessary that there will be no border infrastructure on the island of Ireland in the future."

Mr Juncker will address a joint sitting of both houses of the Oireachtas just before 12pm.