Priority is to avoid any hardening of the border and protection of the Good Friday Agreement – Michelle O’Neill

Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán and Joint Head of Government Michelle O’Neill MLA said today her priority is to avoid any hardening of the border on the island of Ireland and to protect the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement and all-Ireland economy. 

Michelle O’Neill said:

“There is absolutely no good to come from Brexit for people and businesses here. 

“The impact will be negative, and the only safeguards we have to mitigate the damage is the Protocol.

“The Brexit negotiations between the EU and British Government enter their eighth round this week in London, and with the clock ticking down towards the end of the transition period in only 16 weeks.

“Time is of the essence to conclude negotiations on the future economic partnership and fully implement the Irish protocol. 

“Ahead of the latest round of negotiations we have had reports of the British government preparing to abandon the Withdrawal Agreement and Irish Protocol and introduce its own legislation without any thought or regard for its impact on the north.

“This would be a betrayal of what has already been agreed and would inflict irreversible harm on our economy and the Good Friday Agreement.  

“Our priority is to avoid any border on the island of Ireland and to protect the peace process, Good Friday Agreement and all-Ireland economy. 

“This must also remain a top priority for the EU and its member states and therefore ensuring the full and urgent implementation of the protocol which provides these safeguards is paramount. 

“Business, and others must have certainty so that the changes which take affect in 16 weeks can be prepared in order to minimise disruption and costs. 

“As the Brexit negotiations come to a close in the coming months, we will remain focused on defending and representing the interests which protect the economy, jobs and livelihoods.

“We will defend the foundation stones of the Irish peace process, including the Good Friday Agreement and work with those who share these priorities in the Assembly, Dáil, EU and United States Congress.”