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Juncker Says Ireland Will 'Come First' In Brexit

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Ireland will not be left behind by other EU countries when it comes to Brexit, according to the President of the European Commission.

Jean-Claude Juncker met with the Taoiseach and Tánaiste earlier, before addressing a special joint meeting of the Oireachtas.

He opened his speech by looking back at some "emotional, memorable moments" he's spent in Ireland - like the 1996 Dublin Summit, which paved the way for the single Euro currency.

He also said Ireland is the most youthful, globalised and optimistic country in the EU.

"The recent referendums on marriage equality and abortion reflect a deeper shift in societal views - a shift that would not have been contemplated even a generation ago".

Image via @OireachtasNews on Twitter

Acknowledging some progress in the Brexit talks, Mr Juncker said: "The hardest parts are still to do, and there is not much time left to find a concrete agreement".

"On Ireland, both sides agree to the main principles: there should be no return of a hard border, we need common rules to preserve North-South cooperation.

"And mostly important, this means the Good Friday Agreement should be preserved in its entirety: every line, every letter".

"We have less than 10 months to Brexit - we need more answers, and fewer new questions", he said.

Image via @OireachtasNews on Twitter

"I also want to be clear: Ireland will come first.

"There are those who think that the other 26 countries will abandon Ireland at the last minute for a special deal that suits them.

"Those people have not understood what being part of our union means: Ireland's border is Europe's border, and it is our union's priority", he said to applause from the chamber.


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