Seán Kelly MEP, leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, has thanked the European People's Party (EPP) Group for reiterating its firm support for the Irish position in Brexit negotiations.
Speaking on behalf of the Fine Gael delegation following reassurances given by EPP Chairman Manfred Weber this morning that "we are all Irish today", Mr. Kelly made the following statement to EPP colleagues:
"I wish to take this opportunity to thank Manfred Weber for remaining 100 percent behind the Irish position on the border, particularly as the discussions entered a difficult stage this week. Manfred Weber, and indeed Donald Tusk, could not have been stronger in their backing for the Irish position, and I'm certain that this had a significant influence on the British Government.
"The EU's demonstrated unity will have been mystifying for a divided United Kingdom. The agreement reached on Monday morning was a historic one, and I sympathise with the position Prime Minister May now finds herself in - this week she showed that she is trying to move matters forward, but is dependent on a difficult DUP to stay in government following an ill-judged election.
"We must keep in mind that a majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union. It is reasonable to suggest that a majority of people in Northern Ireland would have been happy with the border solution found on Monday morning. For this reason, I strongly believe that we can come to an understanding that will allow us to progress, and I thank the EPP once again for their work in ensuring this," Mr Kelly said in Brussels today.