Irish PM says Brexit gap wide on fish, deal still likely

EU leaders summit in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Micheal Martin speaks as he arrives to attend a face-to-face EU summit amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in Brussels, Belgium December 10, 2020. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS

December 23, 2020

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The gap between British and European Union negotiators on the remaining Brexit sticking point of fishing rights is still wide, but enough progress has been made that a deal is still likely, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said on Wednesday.

“The gap is still wide on fish. You will have read that the European Union put 25% on the table in terms of conceding that amount of catch in the UK waters and a six-year transition period and I think Britain have a far more stringent (position),” Martin told national broadcaster RTE.

“If you had a breakthrough tonight or tomorrow, officials in Europe could be working Christmas Day on the text. On balance, I think given the progress that has been made that there should be a deal. A no deal would be an appalling shock to the economic system on top of COVID-19.”

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by John Stonestreet)