Brexit fallout

The fallout continues in the wake of the UK's historic vote to leave the European Union.

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Judge turns down NI Brexit challenge

A High Court Judge in Belfast has dismissed the UK's first legal challenge to Brexit.

Mr Justice Paul Maguire said the implications for Northern Ireland were still uncertain after Prime Minister Theresa May said she would begin exit negotiations with Europe before March.

A cross-party group of politicians had claimed the country should have a veto on an exit and said the Stormont Assembly should have a say on whether to trigger negotiations with Europe.

Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries, had a separate Brexit challenge surrounding its impact on the peace process heard alongside that of the politicians at the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Justice Maguire said: "While the wind of change may be about to blow, the precise direction in which it will blow cannot yet be determined so there is a level of uncertainty, as evidenced by the discussion about how the Northern Ireland land border with Ireland was affected by withdrawal from the EU."

He added: "In respect of all issues, the court dismissed the applications."

A Downing Street spokesman welcomed the court's judgment.

"It agrees that we can proceed to trigger Article 50 as planned," he said.

"But I think what's important to stress, one of the concerns that was raised during this court case is that there is no reason to think that the outcome of the referendum will do anything to undermine the rock-solid commitment that the Government has to the settlement that was set out in the Belfast Agreement and to the people of Northern Ireland."



Foster positive about common travel area continuing post-Brexit

First Minister Arlene Foster has said she believes the common travel area between the UK and Ireland can continue to exist post-Brexit.

She was speaking at a press conference following the emergency meeting of the British Irish Council meeting in Cardiff to discuss the impact of the Brexit vote.

Earlier, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he could not see how a common travel area on the island of Ireland could survive, considering that immigration had been a big issue in those supporting Britain leaving the EU.

However, Ms Foster was more positive about the border situation.

The hard border that we had in the 70s and 80s was there for a completely different reason than for customs and excise, it was because we were dealing with a terrorist threat at that particular point in time. I think it is eminently possible and probable and something that we will very much seek to do to ensure that the common travel area exists in a very real and meaningful way.

– First Minister Arlene Foster

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who was also in attendance, stressed the importance that there was no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and UK.

"It would not be acceptable either south or north that there would be a European Union border running from Dundalk to Derry, it would not be acceptable,” he commented.

“We're not going back to the days of checkpoints, towers and customs and all of that. That would be very retrograde step."

NI Secretary of State James Brokenshire reiterated that he was committed to making sure any border arrangements were as 'soft' as possible.

Political leaders in Cardiff for key talks over Brexit

Brexit will be top of the agenda. Credit: PA

A key meeting of the British and Irish Council over Brexit is set to take place in Wales.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will travel to Cardiff to take part in Friday’s talks with leaders from across the administrations.

The outcome of the historic referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union is expected to dominate the discussions.

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, who called the meeting, said it will provide an opportunity for national leaders to get together and look at the way forward.

He added: “The council plays a unique and important role in developing positive relationships between its members.

"During this tumultuous time, it is more important than ever to maintain the strength of this relationship and work together to map out a successful way forward."

Hollande warns Brexit negotiations ‘should not drag on’

Credit: PA

French President Francois Hollande has warned that Brexit negotiations “should not drag on” during his Irish trip.

He issued the warning after talks in Dublin with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and only hours before he meets new British Prime Minister Theresa May in Paris.

Should the negotiations be shorter? The most important thing is that they should not drag on. The sooner the negotiations are open the better, and the shorter the better.

– French President Francois Hollande

His comments came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Britain should "take a moment" to prepare for withdrawal from the European Union and Mrs May indicated that she was unlikely to start the two-year process before the end of 2016.

"It's a decision that was taken by the British people," Mr Hollande said.

"Firstly it was the British who will have to bear the consequences. Europe will try its best to give its best relationship with the UK.

"But there's a time the politicians have to accept this vote. They have to accept the consequences."

Mr Hollande's trip to Dublin was arranged before last Friday's Bastille Day atrocity in Nice.

The trip has been scaled back in the wake of the terror attack, but Mr Hollande retained a commitment to meet President Michael D Higgins.

He will be back in Paris for talks with Mrs May on Thursday evening.

Mr Hollande said he understood the concerns about ensuring the Irish peace process is not damaged by Brexit.

"I do recognise there is a special situation here for Ireland," he said.

"It's a special situation and it has to be found a special place in the negotiations."

Mr Kenny reiterated his call for a soft border with Northern Ireland to remain.

Defence, deepened security and counter-terrorism measures across Europe were also discussed during his visit to Ireland.

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