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BBC World News: Dr Paul Breen comments on Brexit and the Irish border issue

Politics and International Relations 14 May 2018

Paul Breen

Dr Paul Breen, Senior Lecturer in the Westminster Professional Language Centre and Irish affairs expert, was interviewed on BBC World News on the question of the Irish border as part of the Brexit negotiations.

Commenting on Brexit Secretary David Davis’ admission that the Irish border solution may not be finalised until after the UK leaves the EU, Dr Paul Breen said: “I don’t agree with the idea that we can wait until the day before or the day after they find a solution because I really see from the British side a lack of engagement in the real issues. For a start, just the very terminology of the Irish border almost abdicates the responsibility on the British side because at the end of the day it is a British border or a British/Irish border because there needs to be more of an awareness I think of the historical context and as well of the fact that it’s not just an issue of trade interns, of products crossing the border, there’s also the issue of the whole supply chain, companies like Guinness or Bombardier for example have been cited as prime examples because they rely entirely on an entire supply chain of manufactures on both sides of the border.”

He added: “There needs to be discussions and negotiations and willingness on the part of the DUP to not play politics with this issue because one of the ironies is that the DUP seems to be playing a short term game and this could inadvertently for them actually increase the Union’s desire to see a United Ireland at some point.”

When asked what a practical solution to overcome the Irish border issue could be, Dr Breen answered: “There probably are various ways of dealing with it but there needs to be more discussions around imaginative and creative solutions and from my perspective, Northern Ireland could stay within the Customs Union.”

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