The leader of the Irish opposition believes that the upcoming Brexit talks will lead to a solution for Ireland’s northern border problems.
The view stated by Michael Martin is drastically different to those held by other Irish politicians.
Most of Ireland’s political hierarchy has viewed the upcoming Brexit talks with a mix of anxiety and suspicion. This view of theirs has been shared by a number of political leaders across the European Union. Except, Michael Martin.
Speaking of the talks, Martin said, “I think something will come through. I mean, my sense is that there will be progress made. Whether it will constitute a breakthrough or not, I’m not sure yet.” He added that the mood surrounding the talks was far better than it had been a few weeks ago.
Martian is the leader of Fianna Fail, one of Ireland’s top two political parties. The party’s support has been crucial to the survival of the minority government headed by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
Although Fianna Fail is technically the opposition to the sitting government, both parties share a center-right ideology. Additionally, both parties owe their conception to the Irish Civil War. Thus, both parties are much concerned by the northern border issue plaguing the country.
Both the Irish government and the European Union at large have made it clear that they are seeking answers to the Irish border question. The issue in question revolves around the border separating Ireland form the UK’s Northern Irish province.
The issue has become one of the biggest discussions in the Brexit debate. For the past two decades, the two countries have followed the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which allowed for open borders and trade.
However, in light of the sectarian conflict between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, the UK wants to withdraw Northern Ireland from the EU customs union.
Both Ireland and the EU fear that this in turn will result in the imposition of much harsher border rules.