UK’s May seeks more compromise from European Union ahead of meeting

Brexit deal close, but EU needs to compromise, says UK's May

Simon Coveney told RTÉ that negotiations have turned into a "green and orange" issue in Northern Ireland.

"Unionists are fearful that a solution on this issue could result in barriers between Northern Ireland and the UK".

British Prime Minister Theresa May's renewed pledge to deliver Brexit without dividing the United Kingdom was met with contradictory ultimatums Friday from Northern Ireland's unionist and nationalist parties.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has rejected claims that a row between the party and Prime Minister Theresa May is halting Brexit progress.

Coveney said: "We can not allow one party in Northern Ireland to veto any proposals".

Speaking on the eve of an European Union summit in Salzburg, Austria, where British Prime Minister Theresa May will brief fellow leaders before they huddle on Thursday to agree on how to play what they hope will be the end-game with London, Barnier called the next summit, in Brussels on 18 October, the "moment of truth".

He told RTÉ's Marian Finucane radio show: "The British government has a confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP but we don't have a confidence and supply agreement with any one party in Northern Ireland".

The prime minister will put forward new plans for a so-called backstop guarantee to ensure no police and customs checks are required, hinting she's willing to allow Northern Ireland to develop its own rules that stay close to those of the EU.

But the Northern Irish Assembly at Stormont - the executive body Mrs May referred to - dissolved in January 2017 after a power sharing accord between the DUP and Sinn Fein fell apart.

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Despite May's tougher talk, she said she'd be willing to make a compromise on the Irish border, the U.K.'s only land frontier with the EU.

"We continue our intensive work with the Government to ensure that we leave the European Union in a manner which protects the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom and enables us to take back control of our laws, borders and money".

Ireland's taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, confirmed in Salzburg that the European Union was reworking the backstop proposal to say that agriculture and phyto-sanitary checks would be the only physical controls that needed to take place between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. "It would deliver for all our people north and south", she said.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald echoed Mr Coveney's comments saying that "the DUP can not veto the vote of the people of the north to remain as part of the EU".

"They do not represent the views of the majority of people nor the interests of the economy", she said.

The plan was published in July, and the British government had already been aware that it did not measure up to a credible future agreement because it requested that the United Kingdom be allowed to access the EU's single market to trade its goods.

The timeframe to meet the October deadline for the Irish backstop, which is included in the withdrawal agreement, after that is razor-thin.

It should now be clear that, despite the initial attempts at triumphalism by the DUP in the aftermath of the 2016 referendum, Brexit is a disaster of enormous proportions for both main Irish traditions.

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