Brexit must not upend peace process, warns Sinn Fein

The Irish Government needs to “stay strong” as Brexit looms, Sinn Fein has said.

Party president Mary Lou McDonald said the divorce should not wreck the Irish economy or the Good Friday Agreement.

The UK and EU are at loggerheads over the Irish backstop – an insurance policy designed to prevent post-Brexit physical checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Ms McDonald said: “It goes without saying that at this critical juncture, the Irish Government needs to hold firm.

“They need to stay strong at the 11th hour, regardless of the overtures or pressure that might be applied from London.

“Whether there is a deal or not, the reality is that Brexit is bad for Ireland. Citizens in the North will be left behind.”

She said she is disappointed the Irish Government has not allocated the two extra seats Ireland is getting in the European Parliament post-Brexit to Northern Ireland.

Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, from Londonderry, or Derry as it is known by many in the city, is campaigning under the banner of Ireland’s largest party, Fine Gael, for an MEP seat in Dublin.

He has pledged to raise issues north of the border if elected.

Mark Durkan
Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan is running for Fine Gael in the European elections in Dublin (PA)

Following a meeting in Dublin, Ms McDonald said: “We are 20 days away from Brexit, and the British Government are still playing down the clock, playing for time.

“We see indecision and a reckless approach from that Government with absolute indifference to Ireland or Irish interests.

“(EU chief negotiator) Michel Barnier’s position is consistent with ours. If Britain wishes to Brexit who are we to stop them?

“But they won’t take the North with them and they’re not going to wreck the Irish economy and upend our peace process.

“That’s the bottom line. That’s a position that has been articulated at Irish Government level and by the European Parliament.”

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