1. Exquisite Tweets from @tconnellyRTE

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    Irish foreign minister @simoncoveney says the UK had made "commitments in writing" that there be a backstop to avoid a hard border, and that that backstop could not be time limited.

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    Tony Connelly

    Speaking in Luxembourg Coveney said the UK made commitments “in writing” both in last December and in March that there would be a backstop in place, “unless and until” another solution appeared to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

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    Tony Connelly

    “Those commitments have been made in writing by the British government, and what we’re saying is we want no more and no less than the follow through of those commitments. That’s what needs to happen.”

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    Tony Connelly

    "A backstop can’t be time limited… Nobody was suggesting in March that a backstop was time-limited, in terms of picking a date in the future in for ending the backstop. We’re not looking for anything new here. We’re simply looking for the commitments made last December...

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    Tony Connelly

    "Last Dec it was agreed that in the absence of agreeing something better there wd be a backstop in place, which essentially means the UK wd maintain full alignment with the rules of CU + SM in areas necessary to protect North South coop, an all-island economy +the peace process..

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    Tony Connelly

    Coveney says Theresa May was “absolutely genuine” in following through on the commitments she had made. “I believe she’s recognises the complexity of politics in Northern Ireland and the politics of the island of Ireland...

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    Tony Connelly

    “That is why she has given guarantees that there would not be physical border infrastructure re-emerging on the island of Ireland, because she knows the corrosive effect that would have on relationships.

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    Tony Connelly

    "So to her credit, she is trying to deal with the complexity of Britain’s responsibilities – shared with Ireland, on the island of Ireland, and at the same time as delivering a Brexit that British people voted for.”

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    Tony Connelly

    Coveney adds Ireland wanted to see an outcome “that settles nerves, that allows us to move ahead with a managed, sensible Brexit.

    “I still think it’s possible to do that, but clearly it’s going to take more time than many people had hoped.”

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    Tony Connelly