Irish PM not confident on prospects of EU/British trade deal

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin leaves a meeting at the EU summit, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brussels, Belgium early July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Thursday that he was not confident that the European Union and Britain could strike a trade deal after London explicitly stated it would act outside international law by breaching their divorce treaty.

“I’m not optimistic at this stage,” Martin told national broadcaster RTE in an interview when asked what his level of confidence was in the two sides reaching a trade deal. Martin spoke to his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Wednesday.

“I think yesterday’s development, because it undermines trust in negotiations, makes it all the more difficult to get to where everyone says they want to get to, which is a free trade agreement with no tariffs and no quotas.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Gareth Jones