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Ireland Deputy PM Coveney renews Brexit border threats

IRISH Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney made a new bid to derail Brexit yesterday, again threatening a “hard border” if Britain does not stay in the EU customs union.

At a conference of business people from Northern Ireland and the republic in Co Louth, he warned that the “clock is now ticking” on the century-old free movement agreement between the two parts of the island.

He said the continued benefits of the bilateral agreement were “best accomplished by the UK indicating that it wishes to be part of an extended single market and customs union,” which would also be “in the best interests of the European Union and its future.

“The British government has not been prepared to seek that type of relationship,” he noted, after PM Theresa May’s confirmation this week that Britain would stay out of the customs union after Brexit.

Mr Coveney, in his capacity as foreign affairs and trade minister, led EU efforts to block the start of phase two Brexit talks last year unless Westminster agreed to keep Northern Ireland within the bloc’s “regulatory framework.”

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