Thursday 16 March 2017 5:06 pm

Irish minister says the UK's Brexit plan is "encouraging", despite admitting desire for details

Ireland's education minister has backed the UK's approach to Brexit as "encouraging" and stressed commitment to an open border with Northern Ireland, regardless of the outcome of trade negotiations.

Fine Gael minister Richard Bruton said he supported a February white paper from Prime Minister Theresa May's ministers, despite admitting that European governments would like to see more detail from the UK in time.

Read More: Ireland launches post-Brexit financial services charm offensive

Speaking to City A.M. on the day May gained the power to trigger Brexit talks, Bruton said member states had shown an emotional reaction to the Brexit verdict.

However, he added: “We are moving into a stage now where people are eyeing the actual issues and [the UK's] white paper has helped to nail those down.

“While it hasn't gone on into any great depth on issues like migration or how you will deal with coming out of the European Court of Justice, it's started to put down some signposts as to the way in which these issues from a British point of view could be dealt with.

“We will need more depth as time goes on, but it's encouraging,” Bruton said.

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The Irish minister also told City A.M. that Ireland's commitment to an open border with Northern Ireland will stand regardless of May's success in negotiating a new trading relationship with the EU.

“We would be very strong on that. I think the logic of that is so strong,” Bruton said.

“The supply chains are very integrated and at a political level that freedom of movement is essential. It is a categorical imperative for us.”