May has been warned that the EU will protect Irish interests
When Brexit was confirmed Ireland started a massive lobbying campaign in Europe to make sure the countries worries were acknowledged and they have been assured the UK will not be left in an advantageous position.
Charlie Flanagan told Newsnight: “Ireland will remain a firm member of the EU and now that Article 50 has been invoked, a member of the EU, namely Ireland, cannot be placed in a position of more disadvantage than someone who is leaving.
It will be painful for Britain and painful for Ireland
Irish Foreign Minister
“It will be painful for Britain and painful for Ireland. We now have to grapple with our nearest neighbour and close friend.
“The relationship between Ireland and Britain is the warmest ever and this has been the case under the umbrella of the EU.”
In pictures: Theresa May meets with EU's Tusk Thu, April 6, 2017
The two leaders held talks on Brexit negotiations
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European Council President Donald Tusk gestures to members of the media as he leaves 10 Downing street after talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in central London
Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, has emphasised that the maintenance of an open Border in Ireland was one of the priorities for the EU side in the negotiations.
Speaking on Newsnight, Flanagan said: “It is essential that a hard border on the island of Ireland be avoided, the open borders must remain. Free movement must endure and continue.
“From our perspective we must honour the Good Friday agreement, it remains the foundation stone of our peace and anything adverse to that agreement will not be acceptable.”
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“The majority of the Irish people are very sad at the decision of Britain to leave the EU but I respect and recognise the will of the people.”
Flanagan is adamant Brexit will be hard on the UK and Ireland
Flanagan previously paid tribute to the work of Irish diplomats and officials who had been “working tirelessly” in Brussels and across the EU to press the case that Ireland was in a special position with regard to Brexit.
The UK is Ireland’s second biggest export partner after the US and its biggest importer. Dublin is concerned that if trade barriers go up between the EU and Britain, Ireland might suffer.
Tusk has promised to protect Irish interests during negotiations
Angela Merkel, speaking on Thursday, confirmed the EU would support the Emerald Isle, she said: “Ireland is especially affected by Britain’s exit.
“Of course we as European partners will help our member state Ireland, as far as we can, to forward its interest.”