“This speech was a missed opportunity for the UK to adopt a much more realistic approach to discussing an outcome to the Brexit negotiations,” he said.
“While we welcome the clarity around seeking a transition period for a further two years, this in itself is not guaranteed, particularly if negotiations collpase, leading to a ‘no deal’ scenario.
“But the overdue recognition of the need for a transition period does not itself answer the question as to what the UK views the long-term relationship with the EU becoming. We remain deeply concerned at the lack of clarity and delusional expectations as to what can be achieved.
“There is nothing in this speech to give clarity on the extremely complicated challenges posed by Brexit in Northern Ireland and the potential border issue on this island. It is vital the UK Government gives much more consideration to this issue over the coming weeks, and in particular, what is being said by local political parties, the Irish Government, and voices from business and civil society.”