Brexit negotiations: ‘We’re not there yet; but we remain focused on our objective’

Progress is being made on Brexit negotiations, but there is still a lot of work left to be done, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

Speaking to AgriLand following the Food Wise Conference in Croke Park today, Minister Creed gave an update on where the Brexit negotiation process has progressed to following recent intense discussions.

He said: “You’ll forgive me if I’m being somewhat circumspect here, but I mean we know what we want; we’re very focused on that.

“It’s not actually anything very different to what Thereasa May articulated herself in her Article 50 letter; it’s no different in fact – in many respects – from what the Westminister Brexit Committee reported on in recent days.

We’re not there yet; but we remain focused on our objective.

“There is a job of work underway and I’m not being deliberately coy; it’s a complex negotiation. There has been an enormous amount of work gone into it by an awful lot of people.

“It’s building on the engagement which we’ve had and that has informed our level of knowledge on this matter and what we want to get at this stage,” he added.

The minister explained that both parties in the negotiation agreed that the critical issues included: citizens’ rights; the divorce bill; and subsequently the Irish issues.

We’ve made progress on all of them; but we haven’t made sufficient progress on all of them to get us to an agreement stage.

“We’re very clear in our approach to these negotiations. We know what is required to ensure that the Irish issues in the context of phase one are dealt with – we’re quite unequivocal about that and there has been a lot of effort put into it. We see that as something that is beneficial to all parties in the agreement,” he said.

With regards to a potential timeline for when a deal may be struck, the minister concluded by saying: “The objective is to get to December council and there is nobody more anxious than we are to move on to talking about the meat and bones of the future trading relationship. But the foundation must be laid first and we’re not in that space quite yet.”