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Taoiseach and Tánaiste must defend the north’s remain vote at next week’s European Council – McDonald

7 December, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today called on the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to commit to protect the north of Ireland from being dragged out of the European Union’s Customs Union and Single Market against the majority will of the people.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“The British Prime Minister is playing make believe that the north can be forced out of the Customs Union and Single Market and avoid a hard border. The Government cannot be sucked into this delusion. 

“Sinn Féin is deeply concerned at the new language we’ve heard today coming from Fine Gael. We hear the Government will consider any new text that comes from the Tory Government in London. This sounds like a fudge of Fine Gael’s much vaunted regulatory alignment.

“The Irish Government has a very strong hand to play. The people of the north have not consented to leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. They voted to remain within the EU. The Irish Government must defend that vote and if it does Sinn Féin will stand shoulder to shoulder with them. 

“The Taoiseach and Tánaiste must defend the north’s remain vote at next week’s European Council meeting when it will be decided whether sufficient progress has been made in the Brexit talks to allow movement onto the next phase.

“Phase 2 of the talks cannot progress unless the matters of concern to Ireland, both north and south, are addressed and solutions agreed that defend the national interest. This means ensuring that the legal and political infrastructure of the Good Friday agreement is hardwired into any deal.

“It also means that we must have certainty of the issues of citizens’ rights, access to the European Court of Justice and access to the European institutions for citizens in the north.

“Anything short of this will guarantee a Brexit border between north and south and ensuing economic and political instability.” 

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