Second phase of Brexit talks crucial for Ireland - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Brexit David Cullinane TD said today that the protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, along with no return of a border on the island of Ireland, must remain red lines issues in the forthcoming round of talks.
Deputy Cullinane said:
"While the joint report signalled some progress, it is in the second round of talks that flesh will be put on the bones of this 'gentleman's agreement'.
"The Irish government must ensure that the North stays in the customs union, single market, and the EU legal framework.
"These are essential in order to ensure that there is no return to a border on the island of Ireland, and that the rights of Irish citizens as EU citizens in the North are protected.
"It is also essential that Irish citizens are able to exercise their rights as EU citizens in the North, not just when they travel south or to other EU countries.
"And despite what the Taoiseach says, 'full alignment' in certain sectors covered by the Good Friday Agreement such as health, education, energy and transport, will not be enough to avoid a border.
"If Britain decides to stay within the EU tariff regime, all well and good, but if it decides to deviate from it then we need legal protections to ensure that the north stays within it.
"This is now the hard part.
"The danger is that the issue of the North and the border will be allowed to slip off the agenda once the economic and trade interests of the larger EU countries come into play.
"We need to be vigilant end ensure that the current 'gentlement's agreement' becomes a legal treaty, and that designated special status for the North is achieved."