Northern Ireland 'very worried' about Article 16 says Bassett

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A former Irish diplomat has alleged to Express.co.uk that the Irish Government is “very worried” about the UK’s threats to triggering Article 16. Ray Bassett has argued that triggering the Brexit article would leave Dublin in a “very, very bad position.” He added that within Irish political circles there is concern that Ireland overplayed its hand during the Brexit negotiations when former leader now Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar opted for a strong pro-EU position.

Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: “On the overall picture Ireland is very worried and I saw the Taoiseach last night was very worried that the UK was going to invoke Article 16.

“Which would place us in a very, very bad position.

“There’s also a feeling quietly in Dublin that you know, we brought some of this ourselves.

“Particularly by Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney’s early period where we adopted a very hostile attitude to the UK.

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“Which wasn’t in Ireland’s interest at any stage

“But was very much seen as playing the European card.”

The former Irish diplomat also alleged to Express.co.uk that behind closed doors the Government of Ireland is “privately very worried’ by the EU stance on fishing rights.

Ray Bassett has spoken out to say that while Dublin pubically backs the European Union and France in their dispute with the UK of fisheries in the Channel, Ireland got a “very bad deal” from the EU’s Michel Barnier during the Brexit negotiations.

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Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: “Officially Ireland will back the European Union in France.

“But privately they will be very worried about what’s happening from a few points of view.

“One on the fishing dispute, Ireland got a very bad deal from Barnier during his negotiations where he started…and I see the Dutch are also complaining that he sort to protect the French interests in terms of British waters.

“And the Irish got the biggest cuts of anybody in British water.”

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He continued: “So there’s a degree that we had to stand with the European Union at that stage because we were quite vulnerable and we needed the European Union particularly in relation to the Irish border.

“But also, you know, privately there will be an awful lot of sympathy for the British on fisheries because we’re in a similar position. We have very large fishing grounds and whereas the European Union, is to allocate 40 percent of the fish in British waters to the UK.

“Here in Ireland rights where we have very extensive waters, we’re gonna get 15 percent it was partly compensated by the European Union giving us some fishing rights in UK waters.”

Mr Bassett added: “So some of them have been revoked, but we still have a situation in our waters where we only have 15 percent.

“So they’re privately they’ll be feeling that you know, as a coastal state, we believe much more than coastal states should have a much bigger say and percentage of fish in their own waters.”

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