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Sinn Féin MPs' presence in the Dáil for Verhofstadt address of historic significance – Hazzard

21 September, 2017 - by Chris Hazzard

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has said the presence of Sinn Féin MPs in Dáil Éireann today, for an address by the EU Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, was of 'historic significance'.

The South Down MP was speaking following a joint sitting of the Good Friday Implementation Committee, alongside the committees for European Union Affairs, and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence in Dublin.

Chris Hazzard said:

“I was pleased to be in the Dáil Chamber today for this important engagement. It is important that all EU officials are continuously briefed and informed on what Ireland needs from the Brexit negotiations. These needs must be a priority given Ireland’s unique position.

“Today's joint committee meeting was of historic significance, and indicates the strength of the all-Ireland campaign against Brexit and the imposition of an EU frontier on this island.

“Sinn Féin MPs sat alongside our all-island team of TDs, MEPs and Senators to witness the address from the chief Brexit co-ordinator of the European Parliament.

“The British Tory government care nothing about the impact of Brexit on Ireland, but Sinn Féin MPs will make continue to make representations where it counts - in Dublin, Belfast and in Brussels. This is what Sinn Féin MPs were elected to do."

However, Chris Hazzard said he was disappointed that MPs and MEPs were denied speaking rights during today’s hearing:

 “I am disappointed that my fellow MPs and MEPs were denied speaking rights despite the fact that I am a member of the Good Friday Agreement Committee, and given that I discussed these crucial issues at length with Mr Verhofstadt yesterday.

“The decision to deny speaking rights to Irish MPs flies in the face of the need for an all-Ireland approach to Brexit.

 “Our meeting with Mr Verhofstadt yesterday was very positive and productive. We discussed the challenges posed by Brexit to all the people of the island. 

"We stressed Sinn Féin’s position that it is an absolute imperative that the North is given Designated Special Status within the European Union.

“This is crucial in order to defend the political, social and economic interests of all Ireland and to protect the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts." 

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