Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

09.35 12 Dec 2020


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The future of post-Brexit trade talks will be decided this weekend, with both sides admitting a deal is looking unlikely.

Negotiations are due to continue in Brussels but the UK and EU have been in a deadlock over the control of fishing waters.

The British Government has now readied four 80-metre Royal Navy boats to patrol the seas in case of a no-deal scenario.

It comes as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed yesterday the two sides had "not yet found the solutions to bridge our differences" on fisheries.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned that it is "very, very likely" the UK will fail to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Speaking this morning, Fine Gael's Brexit Spokesperson Neale Richmond said a responsible Prime Minister wouldn't have gotten to this stage.

He told Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh he was "holding out hope" that a Brexit deal will be reached but "we are getting closer and closer to a no-deal scenario".

Mr Richmond added that "political decision" is required from Westminister to agree to a deal.

He said: "We can only wait until tomorrow evening to see if they have that gumption to take that decision."

The TD for Dublin Rathdown warned that the UK is facing its "worst economic crisis for over 300 years" and that "any responsible Prime Minister" wouldn't have got to this stage.

While he believes there is still an opportunity to reach an agreement, he said Boris Johnson needs to stop worrying about his backbenchers and more about the British people.

Mr Richmond said: "It has happened many times throughout the Brexit process where there is just a rank misunderstanding on the part of Boris Johnson and other Brexiteers that the EU operates on a very clear basis of rules."

It comes as some British newspapers have come out strongly in support of the nation retaining its sovereign stance today, reporting on the gunboats brought in to protect their waters.

Mr Richmond said people in Ireland and across the EU consume British media and such rhetoric makes negotiations "very difficult".

He said: "The [EU] mandate is very clear but we read this morning the headlines in the Daily Express and the Daily Mail talking about sending gun boats to protect fishermen.

"We have the British Daily Star telling President Macron where he can and shove his croissants, we've seen this throughout the process.

"One of the things that fails to be realised by the arch Brexiteers is that we speak English, we read British papers, we watch British media.

"We can hear when they're playing to this domestic audience and it does make things very difficult."

Main image: Croissants and 'I'm In' mugs on a table during an EU-related visit by former British Prime Minister David Cameron to a TV studio in London in 2016. Picture by: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

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