October 5, 2018 / 7:56 AM / 2 months ago

Border deal cannot rely on Northern Ireland assembly - Irish minister

FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney arrives to address during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Any agreement on how the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland operates after Britain leaves the EU cannot rely on Belfast’s devolved government to approve future regulatory changes, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Friday.

“Everybody wants to have an assembly back up and running, but we can’t rely on that because we haven’t had an assembly for over 20 months,” Coveney told national broadcaster RTE, when asked if Northern Ireland’s collapsed administration should have to approve any future regulatory changes between it and the United Kingdom.

“Any agreements that are made and signed off on are between the British government and the European Union and that will be a legal text of a treaty that has to be fully legally operable, whether or not there is devolved government in Northern Ireland. In other words, in all scenarios, Brexit has to work.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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