Strangford MP Jim Shannon MP speaking after a visit to Brussels to meet with Michael Barnier with the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee from Westminster said that the visit was an opportunity to ask the pertinent questions about Brexit.
He said: “We arrived at the Hotel ‘Thon’ – yes thon hotel over thonner – it actually means ‘Tuna’ in Belgium but this was the location close to the underground where the terrorist attacks took place last year that claimed around 30 lives. It is a timely reminder that terrorism is everywhere today and to be careful and lookout for anything suspicious.
“We had a number of introductory meetings with Declan Kelleher, Emer Deane, Irish Ambassador to the EU, and impressed on him the importance of being careful with the use of inflamatory language both Leo Vadakar and Simon Coveney that has exasperated Unionists and those of us who are Brexiteers and who abide by the decision of the people of the UK of GBNI.
“Again we impressed the need for the ROI and UK to work together better for our mutual advantage. We then met Sir Tim Barrow UK Ambassador and quite surprisingly he reported that walks were going well and that he was optimistic on the way forward, and he also gave us some pointers on soft border and Michael Barnier and what to expect.
“After this session, we met the NI Bureau at the EU’s Andrew Elliott and Nuala MacNamara and will be seeking to have a ministerial appointee to oversee EU negotiations present in Brussels to make sure that the Northern Ireland position is protected at the centre of the EU.
“The meeting with Michael Barnier was the high-level one that we wanted and he was certainly very impressive. I had the chance to put three questions to him regarding farming, fishing and the border issue and I made it so clear that the border issue is non-negotiable.
“Interestingly it would seem that the administration and technical system while not acceptable when suggested in July 2017 would now be acceptable. This was a great opportunity to be heard and to make the Northern Ireland situation very well understood by myself and the other Northern Ireland Affairs Committee members who represented Northern Ireland and its interests within the UK,” added Mr Shannon.