"British Government trying to exploit border issue" - Gildernew
Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has said the British government is trying to exploit the issue of the border in Ireland to shape its future relationship with the EU.
Speaking in a panel debate on Brexit at the Kennedy Summer School, the Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP said:
"For the last 18 months the British government has said the issue of the border could only be dealt with in the context of an agreement on the future relationship between Britain and the EU.
“The EU made it very clear to the British that Ireland could not be held hostage as part of these negotiations and that the border needed to be addressed in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“The British government accepted this sequencing of negotiations in June of last year, and in December they even agreed to a Joint Report which pointed towards a resolution of the issue.
“In March of this year they confirmed there needed to be a solution in the Withdrawal Agreement but now they are attempting to roll back on that commitment.
“Since March they have failed to engage in any serious negotiations with the EU on the border question and are continuing to insist it must be part of the future relationship.
"The British government is trying to exploit the border issue – a problem it created – in order to shape their future relationship with the EU.
"They cannot be allowed to use Ireland as pawns in these negotiations.
"The north of Ireland should not be dragged out of the EU against its will. Ireland is too small to have an external border of the EU just because the political establishment in Britain has never dealt with the legacy of its imperial past."