Extending Brexit trade talks 'right thing to do' confirms ex-Taoiseach

13 December 2020, 13:33 | Updated: 13 December 2020, 13:47

By Seán Hickey

This former Irish PM welcomed news from Brussels extending Brexit talks, noting that no-deal could bring the UK to its knees.

"The consequences and the comprehensive nature of what they're trying to do is massive," according to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. He told Tom Swarbrick that "trying, when you're half exhausted to conclude these things," is not going to achieve anything.

Quizzed on his views of Ursula Von Der Leyen's announcement, Mr Ahern beamed: "I'm delighted they're extending it," adding that he is "not one bit surprised," by the news.

On EU trade deals, Mr Ahern noted that "we know how complex they are," and argued that he doesn't "see the necessity of trying to rush them into Christmas."

"Trying to wrap things up in a hurry is a recipe for bad mistakes."

The former Taoiseach warned: "the reality is without a proper, comprehensive, well negotiated, well understood trade deal, it's bad for everybody."

Bertie Ahern insisted the extension is the best option for both parties
Bertie Ahern insisted the extension is the best option for both parties. Picture: PA

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Mr Ahern sympathised with the EU in trade deals, noting that "the European Union don't want to give all and lose all," suggesting that UK negotiators are being difficult.

"From the UK's point of view," he added, "WTO terms are bad for the UK." The former Taoiseach used this to emphasise just how bad a no-deal Brexit would be for the UK economy.

"If it takes another week or months, I think that's the right thing to do. Walking away from this is a mistake."