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‘Post-Brexit trade agreement still possible’ says Irish minister

Minister for Foreign Affairs Trade Simon Coveney – PA

A post-Brexit trade agreement can still be secured, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said adding  that no deal would represent a failure of politics.

The Irish Government has said the British Government’s plans represents a “serious risk” to the peace process amid acrimony in the negotiations with the EU.

Mr Coveney told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “Both the British and Irish economies are going to be damaged significantly and that will be a significant failure of politics not anything else.”

He said there were difficult times as countries recovered from Covid-19 but Britain and the EU needed to press on and reach an accord.

“It is possible to get agreement, it will probably be a basic pretty thin agreement.”

Coveney responded to a suggestion made by Boris Johnson that the EU could blockade British food to Northern Ireland.

“There is no blockade proposed, and that is the kind of inflammatory language coming from No 10 which is spin and not the truth.

“That is the whole basis of the Northern Ireland protocol which the UK designed, along with the EU together to protect peace in Northern Ireland… and that the British government is now looking to renege upon, which is why you sense a frustration in my voice.”

Ireland is “arguably, your closest friend”, Mr Coveney added.

“The British Government is behaving in an extraordinary way and British people need to know that, because outside of Britain the reputation of the UK as a trusted negotiating partner is being damaged.”

The European Union is considering legal action against the UK after Mr Johnson pressed ahead with plans to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. 

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