03:48 GMT19 January 2021
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    Brexit-related Internal Market negotiations have once again brought up the issue of a "hard border" that could be re-introduced between Northen Ireland and Ireland, with each side trying to prevent this scenario from playing out.

    Ireland hopes to see the outlines of a Brexit deal by the end of this week, Irish PM Micheal Martin told a press conference in Dublin. Martin also expressed concerns over complacency among some Irish SMES (small and medium enterprises) in Brexit negotiations.  

    Talking to reporters, he added that the government would have to make moves on key issues. Martin stressed that he got a sense from both negotiating teams that they had made progress.

    On Saturday, Sky News revealed that the European Union believed that a Brexit deal with the UK was “95 percent agreed”. However, there were still concerns over uncertainties about fisheries and access to British waters for EU members. The other remaining disagreements included the UK's granting of healthcare access to workers from the EU, financial services, and intellectual property

    Last week, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said time was running out for a deal. London has had to back down from its plan to pass legislation affecting Northern Ireland, Sky News quoted him as saying.

    The status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland has been at the top of the agenda since the 2016 Brexit referendum. The UK government introduced the internal market bill in a bid to eliminate new barriers within the UK, as there might be a change in the procedures applied on goods coming from Britain into Northern Ireland. However, passing the bill could re-create a so-called “hard border”, with customs and border infrastructure implemented for the first time since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 formalised that both Ireland and Northern Ireland would maintain the border.

     

     

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