Kenny hails "important day" for EU and Ireland

He was at the EU summit where leaders unanimously adopted guidelines for Brexit negotiations

Kenny hails "important day" for EU and Ireland

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny speaks during a media conference at an EU summit | Image: PA images

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says today marks an "important day for the European Union and for Ireland," after EU leaders 'unanimously adopted' guidelines for the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Earlier today, European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed that an agreement had been reached at the summit for a "firm and fair political mandate"

Ireland was given special attention in the EU guidelines, with the Good Friday Agreement and the issue of a hard border being mentioned. 

Speaking at the EU Summit, Enda Kenny said "Today, we agreed the guidelines for our negotiations with the UK. 

"The Government has been clear from the outset, our approach to the negotiations is as a committed member of the EU 27.  

"I am glad that they recognise that we should move on to talk about the framework of the future relationship between the EU and the UK as soon as sufficient progress has been made on the withdrawal issues. "

Strategic engagement

Enda Kenny was pleased with the attention Ireland was given: "On the issues of specific concern to Ireland, the outcome is a huge endorsement of the Government’s approach and a clear recognition of the unique and specific challenges we face. 

"It bears testament to the government’s huge campaign of strategic engagement with EU Member States and the EU institutions over the past 10 months.

"Let me be clear. This is not about triggering any mechanism. I have been consistent in my view that the conditions for a referendum for a referendum do not currently exist. But the acknowledgement of the principle is hugely important. 

He finished by saying "I can assure you that we are well prepared and that we will continue to work to protect and promote Ireland’s interests."

Adams' criticism 

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has welcomed the news, but said overall the guidelines didn't go far enough.

He said "We welcome the provision for the North to seamlessly resume full EU status following a successful Irish Unity Referendum.

"However, It's disappointing and deeply concerning that even at the first hurdle the Irish government has fallen short. 

"The EU Council guidelines fail to go far enough. They do not even match those agreed by the EU Parliament. 

He finished by saying "If the Irish government fails to secure a better deal for Ireland during the actual negotiations, the implications for the economy and Good Friday Agreement will be profound."