Ireland hits out, accusing the UK of using fisheries to run down time in negotiations.

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Ireland is worried that there won’t be enough time to sort out an agreement on fisheries meaning a trade deal might not be completed on time.

The Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said he is worried that negotiations may go down to the wire and without an extension, no deal may happen.

Mr Coveney said: “The British Government was offered a much longer transition period and they turned it down yet they’re now blaming the EU for it. That’s just ridiculous.

“They were very clear that they didn’t want any more time despite the fact the EU was asking them to ask for it. The decision on the timelines is very much a British Government decision, not an EU one.

“I do think a deal is possible, but it needs to be finalised this week if possible because we really are running out of time.”

Those worries may be relaxed somewhat after environmental secretary George Eustice today said if negotiations go well this week, there may be an extension to trade talks.

Ireland fishing

Mr Eustice said: “Of course, if great progress was made this week and you were nearly there it is always possible to extend those negotiations.”

But Simon Coveney says the EU won’t be blamed for the challenges caused by Brexit saying: “The EU side has been respectful and consistent, but also firm throughout this negotiation, regardless of people who are trying now to blame the EU for that consistency because the truth of Brexit is now being exposed in terms of the challenges of it.

“This is something the UK and the EU together have to find a way forward on as opposed to focus on a blame game as regards who’s at fault.”

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