Michel Barnier Briefings


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Michel Barnier

Recorded coverage of the speech by the European Union's lead negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, to the Irish Parliament, from Thursday 11 May.


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We wish to welcome the members of both houses and Mr Michel Barnier to

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this sitting and joint committee. Members will know he is the chief

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negotiator of the task force for negotiations with the United

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Kingdom. I accordingly invite him to take his seat in the chamber.

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The decision, Monsieur Barnier, by the UK last year to withdraw from

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the European Union will have a profound impact on Europe and on its

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citizens. It it also raises a number of specific and important issues

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that are unique to Ireland. For instance, concerns have been raised

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about its impact on Northern Ireland and the peace process as well as its

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impact on the Common travel area between Ireland and the United

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Kingdom. Since the formal notification on the 29th of March

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2017 of the UK's intention to withdraw, preparations for the start

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of the negotiations have intensified. As members will be

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aware, the European Council agreed guidelines for the first phase of

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negotiations on the 29th of April of this year and last week, the

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European Commission published its draft negotiating directives. Our

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exchange of views today is therefore timely and we hope it would

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contribute positively to the preparations for the negotiations.

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Let me also say that I firmly believe that they's sitting

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demonstrates how national parliaments can contribute

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effectively to public debate on matters of concern to the union,

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which is of course one of the principal objectives of article 12

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of the treaty. Monsieur Barnier, we are conscious of the challenging

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road ahead. We wish you and your task force well in your important

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work, and it is our sincere hope that an agreement can be reached

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which protects the principles of the union and the interests of the

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member states asked maintaining a strong relationship with the United

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Kingdom. With those few thoughts, may I invite you now to address our

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sitting. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for

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your kind words and congratulations on your perfect French.

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The speakers, I am very happy and honoured to address both houses and

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to greet you as the representatives of the people of Ireland in all your

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political diversity. I take this on as a responsibility, the

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responsibility to listen to all those who will be affected by the

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decision of the UK to leave the European Union. The responsibility

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to listen to your concerns, build our positions together, negotiate in

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our common interests and the responsibility to explain that we

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need each other, the Ireland is stronger in the union and the EU is

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stronger with Ireland. Your country has honour honour deep historical,

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cultural and intellectual ties to continental Europe for many

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centuries. In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Irish colleges were

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set up around Europe, from Madrid, where I was yesterday, to Paris,

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Rome and Prague. They contributed to writing the history of Ireland and

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the history of Europe. And they spread Irish culture to the

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continent. Centuries later in 1972, the people of Ireland massively

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voted to take part in the European project. At that time, I was 21,

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last century. France had a referendum on the accession of

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Irish, the UK, Denmark and Norway. It was my very first vote. I

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campaign for a yes vote for the UK's AC session back then, voting yes was

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not so easy for a member of the French Gaullist party. But I did it

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with my full heart, and I never regretted it. I regret that Brexit

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is happening now. I would have liked to have seen the UK staying in

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Europe with Irish and all the 26 other member states. But we are

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where we are. Since 1972, we have accomplished great things together.

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The European Union has helped Ireland become what it is today. And

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Irish has a than strengthened our union. The Irish people are known as

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hard-working and open-minded. Their membership has a chance to modernise

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their economy and society. We see this now in innovative companies and

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in the creation of new jobs. Investors seek Irish as being

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central in the European market, not peripheral. And we see it across

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Irish cities, towns and villages. They have been enriched by fellow

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Europeans who have come here to work, study, travel and live. Seamus

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Heaney said to mark the enlargement of the EU in 2004 "Oh on a day when

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newcomers appear, let it be welcoming and let us speak, move

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lips, move minds and make new meanings flyer". Irish has welcomed,

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like you welcomed 30 years earlier. Ladies and gentlemen, 444 years,

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Irish people have shaped Europe. They have helped turn Europe into a

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more open and innovative continent. Ireland's first European Commission,

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Patrick Hillary, played a major role in improving inequality between

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women and men before serving as your president. Another Irish

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Commissioner, Peter Sutherland, supported the creation of the single

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market and establish the Erasmus programme, bringing young Europeans

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closer together for 30 years now and showing what free movement of people

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really means. Today, Phil organ is in charge of developing the European

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Union's most complete economic policy, the Common Agricultural

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Policy. And for my part, I am proud to have been minister of the farmers

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and fishermen in my own country. Some in large countries with

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imperial pasts, like my own, seem to think that the EU makes them

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smaller. This is simply not true. In smaller countries, people are often

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more aware that being part of the EU increases influence and

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opportunities. And being part of a common project does not prevent a

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country from keeping its own identity and making a name for

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itself in the world, as Enda Kenny reminded us all in his excellent St

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Patrick's Day speech in Washington. Pooling national sovereignty

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increases our European sovereignty, because EU citizens of all countries

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can study, work, settle down in another member state and be treated

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like nationals. European consumers can access high-quality food and

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agricultural products from across the EU because they all meet strict

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standards. Suppliers do not have to worry about border checks. Because

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they are part of the call without roaming charges as if they are

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calling from home. Airlines, whatever member state they come

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from, can offer direct flights between any two EU airports. They

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can rely on our open skies agreement with the US, the EU has made travel

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easier. And Irish airlines have been among the first to take advantage of

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these benefits and have profoundly change the market. I experienced it

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first hand myself when I flew to Dublin yesterday night on a rather

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well-known low-cost carrier. Still no coffee, but a little bit more

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seat space than before. Little bit. Honourable members, being together

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makes us all stronger. Because we are part of the EU, businesses can

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trade goods without customs duties and documentation requirements are

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very simple. As part of the EU single market, companies and rely on

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fairer competition and a level playing field. Because the EU has

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consistently put in place high levels of environmental protection,

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citizens enjoy cleaner air and water and governments can resist a race to

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the bottom and fight climate change more effectively together. EU

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companies have privileged access to 60 foreign markets, such as South

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Korea, Vietnam and recently Canada. Thanks to the free trade agreements

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negotiated at the EU level. Banks, insurance and investment funds can

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provide services in the whole single market, based on their establishment

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here in Dublin, thanks to the so-called passporting writes.

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Because they are part of the EU, judges can rely on the European

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arrest warrant. It ensures the rapid treatment of requests for

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surrendering suspected criminals from another member state to bring

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them to justice. Because they are part of the EU, universities receive

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funding for research and innovation. They form one of the widest academic

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networks in the world. As a union member, this is what we enjoy. And

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it is what a member state loses when it leaves the EU. This is what we

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enjoy and it is what a member state loses Barnier when it leaves the

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union. Barnier But let me be clear. Brexit will come at a cost, also to

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us, the 27. I am fully aware that some member states will be more

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affected by others and as chief negotiator, my objective is to reach

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a fair deal, a deal that defends the interests of the entire EU, but also

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those of individual member states. Because of its historical and

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geographical ties with the UK, because of your shared border and

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strong economic links, Ireland is in the unique position. Brexit is

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already having an impact on the value of Irish exports to the UK, in

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particular the food sector. Many in Ireland fear the return of tensions

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in the north. Today, in front of these two houses, I want to reassure

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the Irish people that in this negotiation, Ireland's interests

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will be the union interests. We are in this negotiation together and are

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united EU will be here for you. Tomorrow, I will travel to the

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border with Northern Ireland. I will meet farmers and workers in a dairy

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cooperative. I want to learn from them and listen to the concerns

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about how they are affected by Brexit. Some might be concerned

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about exports to the UK, or by the return of custom checks at the

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border. Others might fear a return to the instability of the past. In

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Northern Ireland, lifting the borders took time. Only 15 years ago

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did checkpoints and controls totally disappear. Thanks to the Good Friday

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agreement that ended decades of violence I was the European

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Commissioner in charge of the peace programme. I have not forgotten my

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conversations with John Hume and David Trimble at that point. So I

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understand the union's role in strengthening dialogue in Northern

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Ireland and supporting the Good Friday agreement. European

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integration helped remove borders that once existed in maps and in

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minds. I will work with you to avoid a hard

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border. The UK's departure from the EU will have consequences. We have a

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duty to speak the truth. We have together the duty to speak the

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truth. Some controls are part of the EU border management. They protect

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the single market. They protect our food safety and our standards. But

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as I already said so many times, nothing in the negotiation should

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put peace at risk. Nothing. It was recognised by the 27 head of states

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and governments two weeks ago. There were very clear that the Good Friday

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Agreement must be respected in all its dimensions, all its dimensions.

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The border issue will be one of my three priorities for the

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negotiations, together with citizens' rights and the financial

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settlement. We must first make sufficient progress on these points

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before we start discussing the future of our relationship with the

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UK. The sooner this will happen, the better. If the conditions are right,

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a close partnership with the UK is in everybody's interests. And in

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Ireland's interests, in particular. Currently Ireland exports 14% of

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goods and 20% of its services to the UK a, this is twice the EU average,

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twice. Of course such facts must be put

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into perspective. Before Ireland's accession to the EU, Ireland

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accounted for 50 of the trade. Today Ireland exports more to the other

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countries than to the UK and the single market is a key asset for

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your financial and pharmaceutical industry. Still, the specific issue

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that you face deserves all our attention. Once again, Ireland

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shares a land border with the UK and most of its trade to the EU goes

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through the UK. This is why I've engaged with Dail, the Senate as

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well as you will at members of the Irish EU Parliament immediately

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after taking up my position. Ireland has done remarkable preparatory

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work. Remarkable. We have to use our combined strength together. We are

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working to deliver solutions. I want to listen to the concerns of the

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Irish people but I also want to pass on the message of hope and

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determination. For all the problems it creates, Brexit also rep minds us

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of what the EU has builting together. What each of us enjoys as

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new citizens and how we can further improve the European project. The EU

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is not perfect. We know that and President Juncker put it candidly

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this week. There are lessons to draw from the crisis. Not only in

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Ireland. There are lessons to draw from Brexit, from the rising scores

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of the populist parties in many countries, including mine. Let's not

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confuse public opinion with populism. We should listen to

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people's feeling and respond with policy change. This is how we will

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fight populism. Just because, honourable member, I'm convinced

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that Ireland will play a major role in these changes, as a centre for

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innovation, as a strong and sustainable agri-food producer, as a

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bridge across the Atlantic, as a supporter of the future relationship

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that we need to build with the UK. Our objective is clear - we want, we

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want these negotiations to succeed. I want us to reach a deal, the UK

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has been a member of the EU for 44 years. It should remain a close

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partner. But it will need to negotiate a bold, ambition but also

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fair free trade agreement. We will also need the same ambition for our

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research and innovation networks and for the fight against climate

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change. We need the same ambition in foreign

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policy, in international cooperation and development. 27 years ago,

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Nelson Mandela spoke in this very room. Just a few months after he was

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released from jail, he praised Ireland's leadership, within the

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European community, to maintain strong pressure on the apartheid

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system in South Africa. Tomorrow, our international partners should be

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able to turn to the EU and to the UK and find in them, strong and united

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shared European values. Finally we need to protect our internal and

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external security. Whether it is the intelligence, the fight against

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cyber threats or cyber security. If he with put things in the right

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order, if we negotiate with mutual respect, without any kind of

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agreesivity and if we are open to fight, there is no reason why a

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strong Europe can maintain a strong relationship with the UK. Dear

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speakers, honourable members, I have been myself a parliamentarian for

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more than 17 years in the French Senate. I will listen carefully to

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the views of the Taoiseach and of all party leaders. In these

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negotiations and the public debate that now start, you have, as a

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national Parliament, a role to play together with the European

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Parliament and civil society. That is why I have been so honoured by

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your invitation to address the two Houses of Parliament of Ireland.

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HE SPEAKS IN GAELIC APPLAUSE

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Merci, Mr Barnier and thank you for the evaluation of that major

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challenge that lies ahead I'm pleased to address the House today

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in the presence of Michel Barnier. I thank you for the statement in which

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he outlined the complexities of the Brexit negotiations and for his

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acknowledgement of their response for Europe and of course for

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Ireland. Michael Barnier is a long-standing friend of this

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country, not just as a long-standing French politician and Commissioner

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but as a European Commissioner. His time as Commissioner form regional

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policy gave him a particular insight to the unique circumstances on the

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island of Ireland which will be central to the talks ahead. I just

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want to thank you sincerely for your willingness to engage with Ireland

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since your apartment as head of the Commission Brexit task force last

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July. This is your second visit to Dublin since that appointment, but

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we've also met on other occasions, including on my own visits to

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Brussels in February and March and of course at the European Council.

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You and your colleagues at the Brexit task force have been more

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than cooperative and accessible, to our ministers and senior officials

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and I know you have also been open to a range of other important

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stakeholders from Ireland. I thank you for this engagement. The

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challenges for this country arising from Brexit are extremely serious

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and it is essential that all those affected have the opportunity to

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make their voices heard. This has also been the approach of the

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Government here, along with ongoing sectoral analysis across Government

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departments, we have engaged widely with industry and civic society,

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holding almost 280 separate meetings. The all-Ireland civic

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dialogue which I convened with the minister of foreign affairs and

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Trade Minister, Flanagan, has concluded 1 sector events, two

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mreenry meetings with over 1200 delegates representing industries

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from organisationses from across the country. This kind of consultation

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has informed our positions on the negotiations, has abled us to public

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our thinking in the comprehensive Government document last week.

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Events have moved on quickly since Prime Minister May formally notified

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the European Union of the UK's invention to leave. The European

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Council agreed the EU negotiating guidelines on 29th April. And on 3rd

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May, the European Commission proposed its draft negotiating

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directives, which built up the guidelines and provide more detail

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on the issues to be addressed. The extensive preparation by Member

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States, by the EU institutions, and by Mr Barnier's task force meant

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that the guidelines were agreed very quickly. This was by no means a

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given. We know just how complicated and serious the issues are. For

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Europe as a whole and particularly for Ireland. So, for over two years,

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the Government has been analysing the issues and engaging with sectors

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across this island to identify our main areas of concern and to develop

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our priorities. Some of these have been referred to here by Michel

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Barnier. These are the protection of the Good Friday agreement and the

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peace process, including by avoiding a hard border, to retain the common

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travel area, to minimise the impact on our economy, and to work for a

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positive future for the European Union. We've also been extremely

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active at political and official level in engaging with our EU

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partners and the EU institutions, with a view to highlighting and to

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explaining the significant implications for Ireland, arising

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from Brexit, and the need to take account of our particular concerns

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in the negotiations ahead. Indeed, since the UK referendum last June,

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we have had over 400 engagements on Brexit, with our EU partners. In all

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of these meetings, we've explained the background and the context of

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the Northern Ireland peace process, emphasised the need to avoid the

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reimposition of a hard bored on the island of Ireland and as I've said

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before, this is a political challenge, and we will have to be

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both flexible and imaginative to deal with it But thanks to this

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strategic impatient work, and the understanding and the support of our

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European partners, I am pleased that Ireland's specific concerns, Mr

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Barnier's mentioned this specifically, the unique

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circumstances that apply here, are fully acknowledged in these

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guidelines. And supporting and protecting ate chee.s, the benefits

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and commitments of the peace process, avoiding a hard border,

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protecting the common travel area will now be addressed as part of the

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withdrawal negotiations. The guidelines provide an excellent

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basis for the negotiations, and it was crucial that got this right from

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the start and again, I would like to thank Mr Barnier for his role in

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making that happen. In more general terms, we're pleased with the tone

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of the guidelines, which is open and constructive, while nevertheless

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clearly and firmly outlining the EU's objectives and principles. They

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highlight the importance of getting clarity in relation to EU citizens'

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rights, which is the key issue across Member States, and important

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in terms of providing certainty for people and for families.

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The approach to the question of the UK's financial liabilities is also

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welcome. It is only reasonable that the UK is asked to honour the

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commitments that it entered into as a member state of the European

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Union. Mr Barnier's approach to this is sensible, to focus firstly on the

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principles and methodology before considering the numbers or the

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structure of payments that might be involved. Importantly from our

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perspective, the guidelines acknowledge the need for

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transitional arrangements. This will be crucial in order to provide a

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level of continuity and certainty both for our citizens and from

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businesses. As Ireland stands to be more effective than any other member

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state by the departure of the UK, we believe it is necessary to begin

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work as soon as possible, and I am glad you referred to this, on

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scoping out the future EU- UK relationship. I am pleased therefore

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that the guidelines acknowledge that the shape of the future relationship

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can be considered once the European Council, that is the head of state

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and government of the 27 member states, agrees that sufficient

:33:33.:33:35.

progress has been made on the withdrawal issues. This phased

:33:36.:33:41.

approach is also a sensible pragmatic way forward. From

:33:42.:33:46.

Ireland's perspective, our objective is for a close and positive future

:33:47.:33:51.

relationship with the UK, and we are pleased therefore that the

:33:52.:33:55.

guidelines indicate that the EU wants an ambitious agreement, not

:33:56.:33:59.

just in economic terms, but also in areas such as security. We will

:34:00.:34:03.

continue to work with partners to achieve such an outcome. So I

:34:04.:34:10.

welcome the European Council guidelines from a substantive

:34:11.:34:18.

perspective. And also the principles that have been carried forward into

:34:19.:34:21.

the negotiating directives. I appreciate the thorough preparatory

:34:22.:34:27.

work carried out by Mr Barnier and his task force as well as other EU

:34:28.:34:34.

partners, whose willingness to listen to us, to listen to our

:34:35.:34:38.

story, to acknowledge our unique circumstances, has brought us to

:34:39.:34:41.

this point. The outcome is an endorsement of the approach by

:34:42.:34:45.

government and a clear recognition of the specific challenges we face.

:34:46.:34:49.

The government has robustly defended the Good Friday agreement process

:34:50.:34:56.

throughout these negotiations so far, making clear that as a legally

:34:57.:35:02.

binding international treaty, it provides a unique political and

:35:03.:35:06.

constitutional framework on the island of Ireland. We know it was

:35:07.:35:09.

vital to provide reassurance that Brexit does not in any way undermine

:35:10.:35:15.

the Good Friday or any provision of the Good Friday agreement. In that

:35:16.:35:21.

context, we have secured an acknowledgement that in the event of

:35:22.:35:26.

change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, brought about

:35:27.:35:29.

in accordance with the principles the Good Friday agreement and the

:35:30.:35:36.

principle of consent, the entire territory of such a united Ireland

:35:37.:35:40.

would be part of the European Union. I have been consistent in my view

:35:41.:35:45.

that now is not the time to have such a referendum on Irish unity and

:35:46.:35:49.

that the conditions set out in the Good Friday agreement for the

:35:50.:35:53.

calling of a border poll do not currently exist. However, the

:35:54.:35:58.

statement agreed by the head of state government of the EU member

:35:59.:36:03.

states which would be recorded in the minutes of the European Council

:36:04.:36:07.

was hugely important in order to dispel any doubt that the UK exit

:36:08.:36:15.

from the European Union would negatively impact on this crucial

:36:16.:36:18.

constitutional provision of the Good Friday agreement. With the EU

:36:19.:36:26.

guidelines now adopted, including the language about our unique

:36:27.:36:30.

concerns, the government last week published a document which reflects

:36:31.:36:33.

the findings of our extensive preparatory work on the island of

:36:34.:36:39.

Ireland and at EU level and outlines the positions and priorities that

:36:40.:36:42.

will underpin our engagement in the Brexit process over the next two

:36:43.:36:46.

years. At EU level, the more detailed draft negotiating

:36:47.:36:49.

directives are now being discussed at ministerial and official level

:36:50.:36:53.

with a view to agreement of the General affairs Corran saw on the

:36:54.:36:58.

22nd of May. These are again broadly positive from the Irish point of

:36:59.:37:03.

view. Mr Barnier and his team have shown that in addition to being open

:37:04.:37:06.

to meet with us, they are also listening to what we have to say,

:37:07.:37:10.

which is why I welcome your decision today. This is important, if the

:37:11.:37:15.

negotiations to proceed in a calm and the way and end up at a point

:37:16.:37:20.

which is as good as possible for all sides. As I said in my stint on

:37:21.:37:27.

Tuesday, it became clear at an early stage of our analysis that the

:37:28.:37:30.

economic impacts of Brexit would be severe. With the EU guidelines now

:37:31.:37:35.

adopted, the government will intensify its focus on the economic

:37:36.:37:40.

indications of Brexit, including on domestic policy measures to protect

:37:41.:37:43.

it from the potential negative impact of Brexit to reinforce the

:37:44.:37:48.

competitiveness of the Irish economy which is so important and also to

:37:49.:37:52.

pursue all opportunities that might arise. In this context, we should

:37:53.:37:58.

also mention that I Ireland will bid for the two other EU bodies

:37:59.:38:03.

currently located in London, the European medicines agency and the

:38:04.:38:07.

European banking authority. I believe Ireland offers an excellent

:38:08.:38:12.

opportunity as a location for these. In conclusion, Brexit is a British

:38:13.:38:17.

policy. It is not an Irish policy and it is not an EU policy. For its

:38:18.:38:23.

part, Ireland remains committed clearly to the European Union and

:38:24.:38:27.

its future. Indeed, a poll published on Europe day this week showed that

:38:28.:38:35.

88% of Irish people agree that Ireland should remain a member of

:38:36.:38:41.

the European Union. Participation and our membership has transformed

:38:42.:38:46.

our country over the last 40 years. So we are committed to playing a

:38:47.:38:51.

strong and active role as a member of the EU 27. We are prepared. We

:38:52.:38:56.

will continue to ensure that our concerns and priorities are

:38:57.:38:59.

reflected in the European Union negotiating position as it evolves.

:39:00.:39:05.

And as we work with our European partners and EU institutions towards

:39:06.:39:09.

a strong and constructive future with our relationship with the

:39:10.:39:25.

United Kingdom. Thank you very much. On behalf of the Fianna Fail party,

:39:26.:39:29.

I thank you for taking the time to address this session in such an

:39:30.:39:33.

effective and competitive manner. Your eagerness to listen and respond

:39:34.:39:38.

to the concerns of Ireland continues an approach seem during the many

:39:39.:39:43.

important roles you have held on the French government and the European

:39:44.:39:49.

Commission. This is not an occasion where we can or should get into the

:39:50.:39:55.

specifics of the negotiations. I am confident that your team and the

:39:56.:39:58.

European institutions will continue to be accessible for constructive

:39:59.:40:01.

discussions. Fianna Fail sees this exchange of views as an opportunity

:40:02.:40:09.

to link our approach to these negotiations with the fundamental

:40:10.:40:11.

issue of Ireland's place within Europe. This is not just about the

:40:12.:40:17.

outcome of the Brexit process, but also about how we see the long term

:40:18.:40:22.

future of relations on this island with our neighbour and with our

:40:23.:40:26.

partners in the European Union. No one underestimates the scale and

:40:27.:40:32.

complexity of the task which you face. Last year's referendum was an

:40:33.:40:39.

ugly and negative affair. No amount of warm words and earnest statements

:40:40.:40:44.

can cover this up. There was no study for implementing Brexit. There

:40:45.:40:48.

was just a strategy for winning the vote through a combination of

:40:49.:40:54.

bluster and aggression. It was not a positive assertion of sovereignty,

:40:55.:41:00.

it was the culmination of 30 years of an increasingly corrosive

:41:01.:41:02.

scapegoating of Europe and immigrants for the home-grown

:41:03.:41:07.

divisions in British society. Those false prophets who promised an

:41:08.:41:10.

economic bonanza are now claiming that they have defied the critics

:41:11.:41:15.

and Britain is booming. This is nonsense. Public borrowing and taxes

:41:16.:41:20.

have already risen since the vote, and the long term damage to

:41:21.:41:23.

employment and standards of living is becoming ever more certain.

:41:24.:41:29.

Fundamentally, the narrow Brexit majority represented a rejection of

:41:30.:41:32.

strong rule-based cooperation between states. It asserted a narrow

:41:33.:41:40.

vision of sovereignty which developed in the 19th century and

:41:41.:41:42.

directly led to the two bloodiest wars in history. Let there be no

:41:43.:41:47.

doubt about where Ireland stands. We want nothing to do with a backward

:41:48.:41:54.

looking idea of sovereignty. We remain absolutely committed to the

:41:55.:41:59.

ideals of the European Union. We see the union for what it is, the most

:42:00.:42:05.

successful international organisation in world history. And

:42:06.:42:08.

while the extremes of right and left try together to attack it, they have

:42:09.:42:13.

no credible response to the fact that every member state has secured

:42:14.:42:18.

a significant rise in living standards and a continent once

:42:19.:42:22.

defined by conflict is today defined by cooperation. The union is flawed,

:42:23.:42:28.

but its successes are undeniable. Certainly, there are different views

:42:29.:42:33.

here. There are those who buy into the anti-EU narratives. But the

:42:34.:42:37.

overwhelming majority of the Irish people are determined that Ireland's

:42:38.:42:40.

future will remain a European future. It is important for you to

:42:41.:42:46.

understand that Ireland's approach to Europe and to international

:42:47.:42:50.

commitments is deeply intertwined with our national identity. Last

:42:51.:42:56.

year, we marked 100 years since the most important founding event of our

:42:57.:43:03.

Republic. The nationalism of the rising of 1916 and the population of

:43:04.:43:08.

independence is a generous one. It defines the Irish nation is having

:43:09.:43:12.

diverse elements, and six a state which works with others. Our

:43:13.:43:18.

republican constitution, adopted in 1937 at a dark moment in world

:43:19.:43:23.

affairs, goes even further and explicitly recognises the role of

:43:24.:43:29.

international law and cooperation. We have no nostalgia for a lost

:43:30.:43:34.

Empire and no wish to assert superiority over others. We have

:43:35.:43:40.

never sought to stand apart from the world, jealously guarding the right

:43:41.:43:44.

to say no to everything. We fully understand that only when states

:43:45.:43:49.

work together can they secure peace, progress and prosperity for their

:43:50.:43:54.

people. That is why we remain active and constructive members of the

:43:55.:43:59.

European Union. The most basic challenge for the agreement which

:44:00.:44:02.

you will negotiate is to protect the essential contract which underpins

:44:03.:44:09.

the European Union. This contract is that all members must have the

:44:10.:44:15.

opportunity to achieve progress. When new circumstances arise, new

:44:16.:44:18.

responses must be possible. If Europe ceases to be a vehicle of

:44:19.:44:22.

hope, then it ceases to have a purpose. Brexit represents a

:44:23.:44:26.

dramatic disruption which poses permanent challenges which are

:44:27.:44:31.

unevenly spread within the union. The referendum result in the British

:44:32.:44:35.

government's decision to opt out of both the single market and the

:44:36.:44:41.

customs union are deeply destructive to businesses and communities on

:44:42.:44:43.

this island. The only long term option for us is to take a more

:44:44.:44:48.

ambitious and urgent approach to that and innovation. Even more

:44:49.:44:54.

importantly, we must now find a way of fixing the damage caused to the

:44:55.:44:58.

agreed approach to building a lasting reconciliation in a place of

:44:59.:45:05.

sectarian division. I remember well that when a government of ours

:45:06.:45:08.

approached you concerning European Union support for the peace process,

:45:09.:45:13.

you were active, engaged and generous. We have no doubt that you

:45:14.:45:17.

will do everything possible to honour the clear support for the

:45:18.:45:21.

Good Friday agreement contained in the negotiation guidelines.

:45:22.:45:28.

It is important to emphasise that Good Friday Agreement has policies

:45:29.:45:33.

and structures which were intended to evolve overtime. It is not the

:45:34.:45:39.

intention of having either the status quo or be reunification. In

:45:40.:45:44.

fact the spirit of the act is to allow for provisions for shared...

:45:45.:45:47.

Over time in important practical matters. The text incorps rauted in

:45:48.:45:51.

our constitution allows for this Parliament. - incorporated. Allows

:45:52.:45:57.

for this Parliament to delegate to bodies not solely under our

:45:58.:46:00.

direction. Tourism, trade and European funding programmes are

:46:01.:46:04.

three of the areas already covered. Whatever is agreed in the

:46:05.:46:10.

negotiations must do nothing to undermine the ability to allow

:46:11.:46:13.

shared cross-border institutions and action to develop. In terms of the

:46:14.:46:19.

wider trade arrangements, we believe that maintaining a close trading

:46:20.:46:22.

relationship with the United Kingdom is in Europe's best interests. Given

:46:23.:46:26.

the scale of disruption which Brexit will cause, even with its soft

:46:27.:46:31.

border, we believe that a former special status should be considered

:46:32.:46:34.

in the negotiations. -- a formal special status. There are many

:46:35.:46:38.

models of special economic zones in the world which could be adapted.

:46:39.:46:44.

The rights of persons born in Northern Ireland, or long-term

:46:45.:46:47.

residents of Northern Ireland, to Irish and, therefore, European

:46:48.:46:50.

citizenship, must be protected fully in the final agreement. We welcome

:46:51.:46:55.

the reassurances provided on this, as well as the commitment to

:46:56.:47:02.

maintain the common travel area. As you know, this commitment is

:47:03.:47:05.

currently referenced in protocol 20 of the treaty on the functioning of

:47:06.:47:13.

the European Union. This port of call is essentially meaninglesses

:47:14.:47:16.

once the UK leaves the European Union because Ireland's rights are

:47:17.:47:21.

defined in in terms of its relation was another contracting partner to

:47:22.:47:25.

the treaty this. Raisings what maybe a fundmental practical negotiations

:47:26.:47:30.

with the arrangement which is the status of the agreement which

:47:31.:47:33.

emerges the guidelines limit what can be agreed to measures that

:47:34.:47:38.

conform to existing European laws. It is frapgly, very difficult to see

:47:39.:47:42.

how issues to do with Northern Ireland or indeed the common travel

:47:43.:47:47.

area, as well as essential economic adjustments, can be addressed

:47:48.:47:50.

without some new EU legal measures. We hope you will be willing to

:47:51.:47:55.

recommend new legislative acts, where these maybe required. However,

:47:56.:48:00.

where there is a doubt concerning the treaties, we believe the final

:48:01.:48:04.

agreement should provide the means of adopting some new measures, such

:48:05.:48:11.

as an enabling provision which would allow new North-South arrangements,

:48:12.:48:22.

following council Eunan incompetent. -- unamimit areas. It should be

:48:23.:48:27.

possible to adopt minor treaty provisions at the same time if they

:48:28.:48:32.

are meeting basic objectives. This session does not allow for more

:48:33.:48:36.

detail but we will forward to you specific proposals once the

:48:37.:48:40.

negotiations are under way. On this very day, 45 years ago, the votes

:48:41.:48:46.

were counted in our accession referendum. An overwhelming 83%

:48:47.:48:55.

voted in favour of membership. The campaign saw many scare stories,

:48:56.:48:59.

promoted about how Europe would reduce Ireland to a barren

:49:00.:49:03.

wasteland, build nuclear plants on every cross roads and parade

:49:04.:49:07.

missiles down our main streets. The people, however, choose to place

:49:08.:49:11.

their faith in the positive vision of Ireland, growing and prospering

:49:12.:49:14.

within the European Community of nations. Our European path was in

:49:15.:49:22.

fact the final public contribution of our great revolutionary

:49:23.:49:27.

generation. As a 16-year-old boy, Shaun escaped from home in order to

:49:28.:49:33.

fight in the 1916 rising. As a politician a decade later, he read

:49:34.:49:38.

and was inspired by the idea of a united Europe, proposed by the great

:49:39.:49:47.

French statesman Briand. When he came Taoiseach at the end of the

:49:48.:49:54.

19050s, he called for our country to open itself. His governsance laid

:49:55.:50:02.

the foundations for sustained progress and applied for membership

:50:03.:50:05.

of the European Community. He told us there would be challenges but the

:50:06.:50:09.

opportunities would be far greater. This father of our European path and

:50:10.:50:16.

of modern Ireland died on May 11th 1971, exactly one year before the

:50:17.:50:19.

result of our accession referendum was announced. His legacy is as

:50:20.:50:26.

important today as it ever has been. Europe faces a moment of great

:50:27.:50:31.

uncertainty and in many ways, fear. There's no positive side to Brexit.

:50:32.:50:35.

But, if we look to our shared history, we see that we have come

:50:36.:50:40.

through many difficult times before. If we remember the core ideals of

:50:41.:50:45.

the union, we will get through this process, and secure for another

:50:46.:50:49.

generation the promise of shared progress, and prosper yited between

:50:50.:50:52.

the nations of Europe. Thank you very much indeed.

:50:53.:50:54.

APPLAUSE #

:50:55.:51:06.

Gerry Adams, please. HE SPEAKS GAELIC

:51:07.:51:32.

I welcome your presence and your remarks on with behalf of Sinn Fein

:51:33.:51:37.

and let me tell you a wee bit about us. Sinn Fein is an Irish Republican

:51:38.:51:43.

Party, we are an all-Ireland party. We have the largest group of Irish

:51:44.:51:49.

MEPs in the European Parliament. Sinn Fein has TDs, MLSs, Senators,

:51:50.:51:55.

MPs, MEPs and counsel os, we have a significant mandate and are the only

:51:56.:51:59.

party substantially organised across this entire Ireland. Sinn Fein is

:52:00.:52:04.

opposed to the partition of Ireland. We are a united Ireland party. We

:52:05.:52:10.

want an toned British Government involvement in Irish affairs and we

:52:11.:52:14.

are working for the unity of all the people of this island, based on

:52:15.:52:17.

equality, respect and reconciliation. We believe,

:52:18.:52:23.

absolutely in the core values of equality, liberty, and fraternity

:52:24.:52:31.

and the foundation of these values in the 1916 proclamation. With

:52:32.:52:35.

others, Sinn Fein has played a central role in the development of

:52:36.:52:38.

the peace process and in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent

:52:39.:52:42.

agreements. We have to create - and we were part of of the national and

:52:43.:52:46.

international effort that brought an end to conflict on this island, not

:52:47.:52:51.

least with the European Union, as a critical partner for peace over the

:52:52.:52:56.

past 20 years. But those who were previously denied the right to work

:52:57.:53:01.

peacefully for a united Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement commits the

:53:02.:53:04.

Government to legislate for that, if the people consent to this. Sinn

:53:05.:53:12.

Fein campaigned, unlike yourself, against Irish membership of the EEC

:53:13.:53:18.

in 1973. Since then, every European Treaty has taken further powers from

:53:19.:53:21.

the Irish state. Sinn Fein wants a different type of European Union. We

:53:22.:53:28.

want a social Europe, which promotes peace, demilitarisation, economic

:53:29.:53:33.

and social justice, international solidarity and greater democratic

:53:34.:53:37.

accountability. Today's European Union is wedded to

:53:38.:53:43.

neo-Liberal policies. These have created widespread hardship, as

:53:44.:53:47.

austerity, deregulation and privatisation have undermined the

:53:48.:53:50.

social function of states and the rights of citizens, including the

:53:51.:53:55.

rights of workers, and increasingly, as you acknowledged in your remarks,

:53:56.:54:01.

people across the EU are uncomfortable with. And yet yes, has

:54:02.:54:07.

asisd the growth of far right policies which exploit people's

:54:08.:54:11.

fears. Brexit, in our opinion is a scone sequence of that. During the

:54:12.:54:15.

Brexit referendum, Sinn Fein campaigned for a Remain vote in the

:54:16.:54:18.

North. It is clearly not in the interests of the people of this

:54:19.:54:22.

island, whatever their background, whatever their views, to have one

:54:23.:54:25.

part of the island outside the European Union and the other part

:54:26.:54:31.

inside. I know that you value the peace process and the Good Friday

:54:32.:54:34.

Agreement. I commend your support for that, as you say, going back to

:54:35.:54:40.

the time of John Hume and David Trimble. I'm sure you are aware that

:54:41.:54:47.

any agreement by the EU, that violates an international treaty,

:54:48.:54:51.

which is what it is, would contravene EU Treaty obligations.

:54:52.:54:55.

But Brexit is not just an issue for the North. It'll adversely affect

:54:56.:55:02.

our entire island if we let T it's vital that its challenges are met on

:55:03.:55:06.

that all-island basis. It is clear and again you acknowledged this in

:55:07.:55:11.

your remarks, as did the Taoiseach, that Brexit would have a serious and

:55:12.:55:15.

detrimental affect and is already having this affect on Irish jobs and

:55:16.:55:21.

businesses and in particular in the agriculture and agri-food sector.

:55:22.:55:25.

The aim of the European Union, if I may say so, should be to prevent a

:55:26.:55:38.

land frontier between the European Union and the UK on the island of

:55:39.:55:43.

Ireland. That should be the key objective, to prevent that land

:55:44.:55:47.

bored on our island. To achieve this, we have advocated that the

:55:48.:55:51.

North be afforded designated special status within the European Union. We

:55:52.:55:57.

also believe that Ireland should have a veto on any agreement reached

:55:58.:56:01.

between the EU and the British Government, that does not include

:56:02.:56:07.

this position. Designated status, Mr Barnier, is the best is the only way

:56:08.:56:12.

to ensure that the entire island of Ireland remains within the European

:56:13.:56:17.

Union. I commend to you, today that it is an imaginative solution that

:56:18.:56:20.

addresses the complexities of the problem. It does not affect the

:56:21.:56:25.

constitutional status of the North. That will only be changed by our

:56:26.:56:29.

referendum. Designated special status within the European Union is

:56:30.:56:34.

the position endorsed by this Dail. It is the position of this

:56:35.:56:41.

Parliament. It is endorsed by the majority of MLAs in the northern

:56:42.:56:45.

aaccept bli. It also recognises that the people of the North voted to

:56:46.:56:48.

remain part of the European Union. Is that just going to be set to one

:56:49.:56:53.

side? Ignored, driven over? It's a solution beinged a vericated by

:56:54.:56:56.

representatives of border communities and some of them are

:56:57.:57:01.

here in the Public Gallery and I welcome them. The Tory Government in

:57:02.:57:06.

England should not be allowed to reject that vote. It should not be

:57:07.:57:12.

allowed to set aside the way people in the North have decided. They

:57:13.:57:17.

should not be allowed to drag the North out of the European Union,

:57:18.:57:21.

against the democratic wishes of citizens. Designated special status

:57:22.:57:25.

for North, within the European Union, isn't about a hard Brexit, or

:57:26.:57:30.

a soft Brexit ited, it is about the best interests of our economy, our

:57:31.:57:37.

peace process and our people. It's also a democratic imperative. It's

:57:38.:57:41.

about retaining the freedom of movement, of goods, people and

:57:42.:57:47.

services on the island of Ireland. Any restriction, any restriction

:57:48.:57:50.

whatsoever on the freedom of movement would represent a hardening

:57:51.:57:56.

of the border. Believe me, this will severely damage social and economic

:57:57.:58:02.

cohesion. But beyond acceptable to people living in the border

:58:03.:58:06.

communities, but also to people across our island. Special status

:58:07.:58:11.

will assure the North's trading relationship with the rest of yierld

:58:12.:58:16.

and the European Union, particularly -- rest of yierld and the European,

:58:17.:58:22.

particularly with agriculture, agri-foods, all of that would be

:58:23.:58:26.

maintained. It is about allowing all of Ireland to remain in the customs

:58:27.:58:30.

union, the single market and on to the jurisdiction of the European

:58:31.:58:32.

Court of Justice. It is about maintaining the European Convention

:58:33.:58:36.

on Human Rights. It's about protecting the rights of citizens in

:58:37.:58:42.

the North, who have a right to Irish citizenship and, therefore, to

:58:43.:58:47.

citizenship of the European Union. Access to EU rights and services

:58:48.:58:51.

across employment, workers conditions, Social Security, and

:58:52.:59:00.

health care must also be protected. Now, none of this is beyond our

:59:01.:59:06.

collective wisdom or our ability. It does require political flexibility

:59:07.:59:10.

from the European Union. Now, of course, the little Englanders may

:59:11.:59:13.

object, but let me remind you, and them, that they are looking for

:59:14.:59:17.

special arrangements with the European Union for themselves. And

:59:18.:59:22.

there are already unique arrangements in place for other

:59:23.:59:27.

states. So, the European Union has been flexible on these matters.

:59:28.:59:31.

There are different forms of integration and relationships for

:59:32.:59:36.

Member States and non-Member States. These include overseas countries and

:59:37.:59:43.

territory status, the European free trade association and the separate

:59:44.:59:48.

customs union. In light of the were visions for Irish unity in the Good

:59:49.:59:52.

Friday Agreement, the European Union should not diverge from these norms.

:59:53.:59:56.

Sinn Fein, unlike the Taoiseach, would like to see a referendum on

:59:57.:00:01.

Irish unity within the next five years. However, the immediate

:00:02.:00:06.

challenge facing the European Union, and the people of Ireland, is how to

:00:07.:00:13.

meet the threat of Brexit. And this is all about what kind of Ireland

:00:14.:00:19.

will emerge after Brexit. And the only way to positively shape that is

:00:20.:00:26.

through a special designated status for the North, within the European

:00:27.:00:34.

Union, so merci beaucoup, Mr Barnier, I thank you for your

:00:35.:00:37.

presence. HE SPEAKS IN GAELIC

:00:38.:00:42.

Thank you Deputy Adams. Thank you. I want to add my words of

:00:43.:01:00.

welcome to Monsieur Barnier and although my speaking time is brief,

:01:01.:01:07.

I want to use my proximity to emphasise the point I want to make.

:01:08.:01:16.

We met many years ago. We were both environment ministers and I know his

:01:17.:01:19.

commitment to the ideals of Europe. I also know that you appreciate that

:01:20.:01:27.

the Brexit negotiating mandate is about our vital national interests

:01:28.:01:32.

and the vital interests of this island as a whole. We have many

:01:33.:01:39.

concerns. Where are an island, off an island, off the mainland of

:01:40.:01:44.

Europe. Inevitably, our geography must dictate our policies and

:01:45.:01:51.

priorities. The negotiating guidelines, with their insistence on

:01:52.:01:59.

an orderly approach, postpone consideration for what for us will

:02:00.:02:06.

be the most vital interests until later. To be specific, while the

:02:07.:02:14.

guidelines do recognise, as other speakers have referenced, the

:02:15.:02:18.

special position of Northern Ireland, albeit with the real

:02:19.:02:21.

challenges that others have already underscored. They don't, in my view,

:02:22.:02:28.

sufficiently recognise the unique challenges that would be faced by us

:02:29.:02:36.

south of the border. Brexit means that for us, the idea of achieving

:02:37.:02:40.

the European single market has been set back a generation. That is the

:02:41.:02:49.

undeniable truth. Bluntly, once the UK leaves, it will no longer make

:02:50.:02:54.

any real practical day-to-day sense for us to talk about membership of a

:02:55.:02:58.

true single market in relation to the goods and services that we

:02:59.:03:05.

import and export. Talk of the single market will, from our

:03:06.:03:10.

perspective, revert from being almost a practical reality that we

:03:11.:03:17.

almost had fully achieved towards something more closely resembling an

:03:18.:03:24.

aspiration. The basic reason, as I said, is one of geography. There

:03:25.:03:30.

will in future be a large chunk of non-Europe between us and the rest

:03:31.:03:37.

of the union. Brexit will impact on every aspect of our economic, social

:03:38.:03:41.

and cultural lives. They will impact on every network that we are already

:03:42.:03:48.

connected to. This includes in physical and infrastructural terms,

:03:49.:03:53.

our transport, energy, our telecommunications networks. And it

:03:54.:03:57.

was therefore impact on Ireland's ability to adhere to EU law. It will

:03:58.:04:03.

affect, for example, our ability to comply with the EU directive are

:04:04.:04:13.

squaring a single EU market in at 60 -- electricity when our only power

:04:14.:04:16.

connections with Northern Ireland and with Britain. Another directive

:04:17.:04:21.

requires a market without frontiers when most of our external television

:04:22.:04:26.

comes from Britain. EU directives are based on internal markets,

:04:27.:04:31.

common markets and interconnectedness. They are

:04:32.:04:35.

designed to cover enormous territories and immense distances

:04:36.:04:41.

and to bring them together as one. They aren't designed to leapfrog

:04:42.:04:48.

over other countries, operating with completely separate rules, to which

:04:49.:04:51.

we will nonetheless remain truly tied in Ireland in terms of

:04:52.:04:56.

geography, infrastructure, networks and trade. So our challenge posed

:04:57.:05:05.

Brexit for Ireland to adhere to policies and to laws that were

:05:06.:05:09.

designed for an internal EU market, when we will find ourselves removed

:05:10.:05:15.

from direct access to that market, having few direct infrastructural

:05:16.:05:20.

connections, remain connected instead to a country outside the

:05:21.:05:28.

union. All of these factors makes Ireland's case unique in the

:05:29.:05:33.

negotiations, Michel, that you are about to lead on our behalf. I hope

:05:34.:05:37.

Michel the views expressed by members in the few short minutes we

:05:38.:05:43.

have here in the ongoing dialogue we will have with you will - and make

:05:44.:05:51.

sure you bring is effective as can be a conclusion in our interests.

:05:52.:06:00.

Thank you. Richard Boyd Barrett, please. As a representative of the

:06:01.:06:05.

people before profit Alliance and a socialist, Monsieur Barnier, I am a

:06:06.:06:11.

thorough internationalist, an implacable supporter of

:06:12.:06:18.

international solidarity and an implacable opponent of the racist

:06:19.:06:23.

and far right forces that are now rising in Europe. But I ask you in

:06:24.:06:34.

all sincerity, can we trust you with the issues of international

:06:35.:06:37.

solidarity, or indeed with the issues of the free movement of

:06:38.:06:41.

people as they pertain to Europe or to this country? This week, 250

:06:42.:06:50.

desperate refugees fleeing North Africa drowned in the Mediterranean

:06:51.:06:55.

because of the EU's Fortress Europe policies. Not free movement

:06:56.:07:00.

policies, policies denying free movement to desperate people. Can we

:07:01.:07:08.

trust you with international solidarity when John Daughtry Chez

:07:09.:07:13.

threatens to let off" a financial bomb in Dublin" if our government

:07:14.:07:20.

even suggested to burn the gambling bondholders who crippled our economy

:07:21.:07:24.

and whose activities inflicted absolutely cruel and vicious

:07:25.:07:29.

austerity on hundreds of thousands of our citizens, leaving us still

:07:30.:07:35.

today with a legacy of the worst housing and homelessness crisis in

:07:36.:07:38.

the history of the state, a health service that has been savaged,

:07:39.:07:43.

incredible hardship imposed on some of our most vulnerable citizens? And

:07:44.:07:48.

even now, the EU fiscal rules, of which I think you were a significant

:07:49.:07:52.

architect, cripple our ability to deal with those problems. So I don't

:07:53.:07:58.

trust the European Union, Mr Barnier, to do a deal that will

:07:59.:08:05.

vindicate the needs and aspirations of the citizens of this country,

:08:06.:08:10.

because you have failed to do so in recent years. And indeed have

:08:11.:08:12.

imposed similar hardship in countries like Greece and Spain and

:08:13.:08:20.

post-Brexit Italy. But if we are to give you any credibility in your

:08:21.:08:26.

commitments today, can I just ask you a few simple questions? Will you

:08:27.:08:31.

guarantee Tom not consider, will you guarantee that Europe will not try

:08:32.:08:37.

and break up the free travel area between Britain and the UKs will you

:08:38.:08:44.

guarantee that the European Union will not impose a hard border

:08:45.:08:48.

between the north and south of this country? And if you believe in

:08:49.:08:53.

democracy, as the European Union professes to do, will you give us a

:08:54.:09:01.

vote in this country on the final deal in the negotiations between the

:09:02.:09:07.

European Union and the UK, so we can decide democratically in this

:09:08.:09:12.

country whether we believe the best deal has been done? And if you

:09:13.:09:17.

cannot give those guarantees, frankly, all the noble aspirations

:09:18.:09:24.

mean very little indeed. It is the failure to give guarantees and

:09:25.:09:30.

promises on democracy, on rights, and to vindicate genuine

:09:31.:09:35.

international solidarity that is actually the reason for the

:09:36.:09:38.

existential crisis that the European Union is now facing. It is to that

:09:39.:09:42.

that the European Union had better address itself quickly if the

:09:43.:09:48.

dangerous forces that are rising in Europe are not to gain further

:09:49.:09:49.

advance.

:09:50.:10:00.

Recorded coverage of the speech by the European Union's lead negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, to the Irish Parliament. With responses from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil, Labour, Sinn Fein and People Before Profit, from Thursday 11 May.