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Snippet Contents:

In light of the good progress that has been achieved, however, we agreed that Mr. Barnier and the Council should start internal preparations among the EU 27 for the next phase.
It is worth recalling that, for there to be sufficient progress, we do not need to see the three issues fully resolved, rather we need to have achieved a degree of progress that gives us confidence that the 27 can move to the second phase. As Deputies are aware, Ireland has worked very closely with Michel Barnier and his task force and we will continue to do so.
Our overall priorities are clear: to protect the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement in all its aspects; to avoid any new barriers to trade or movement of people on our island; to maintain the common trade area and all the rights and obligations that follow from it; to have an effective transitional arrangement leading to the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK; and working for the future of a more integrated Europe with Ireland at its heart.
Prime Minister May’s comments to the European Council, particularly in respect of rejecting any physical infrastructure along the Border between Northern Ireland and Ireland were very welcome. However, more clarity is needed on how this can be achieved. I will certainly urge the UK Government to provide more detail on how its stated commitments in relation to the withdrawal issues will be given meaningful effect, in order that sufficient progress can be made as soon as possible, and ultimately an agreement reached.
I look forward to hearing the statements from other party leaders.