UK Secretary for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said on Monday that the country was unlikely to retain access to the Single Market.

“We joined the Common Market in 1973 as one United Kingdom and we will leave the European Union in 2019 as one United Kingdom,” Brokenshire said.

He added that the UK was seeking a “bespoke” agreement for Northern Ireland that would avoid a hard border. And in this vein, Brokenshire called for “imaginative thinking” on the part of the Irish government and EU negotiators.

Imaginative solutions proposed from London include a so-called “invisible border” without checkpoints or controls, even without customs arrangements. The “proposal” or wish has yet to be expressed in practical terms. The suggestion to run checks from the Republic of Ireland to the EU would effectively impose Brexit conditions on the Irish Republic, severely disrupting its exports.

Although Mr. Brokenshire reiterated numerous times that the British government “fully recognizes” the economic and social integration of the island, he also made clear that it was important to find a solution that works for “all parts” of the UK.

In comments to the Belfast Telegraph, Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said it was hypocrit. cal for Mr Brokenshire to talk about protecting the interests of Northern Ireland as “his government’s Brexit agenda can only damage those interests.”

The Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney demands that the Irish issue is resolved even if Brexit negotiations collapse.