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British attempts to placate DUP can’t undermine the backstop – McDonald

9 January, 2019 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking from Brussels Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said.

“Today Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill and I met with leading EU Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum and with Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator of the European Union.

“Over the past two and half years, Sinn Féin has engaged widely with the EU to recognise and secure the unique status of the North and to safeguard Irish interests in the Brexit process.

“There was a uniformity of approach and unanimity of purpose among all we met to safeguard Ireland’s interests, the rights of citizens and to protect our agreements.

“The EU has made it abundantly clear there can be no undermining of the Withdrawal Agreement and its Backstop.

“The DUP continues to play a reckless game in its pursuit of a Brexit at the cost of our institutions, agreements and economy.

“The British government continues to attempt and placate DUP.

“The DUP is massively out of step with the majority opinion in the North in relation to Brexit, the Withdrawal Agreement and the Backstop.

“The Withdrawal Agreement and the Backstop are the least worst options in the disaster that is Brexit. These cannot, and will not, be rewritten, renegotiated or vetoed by Westminster or the Assembly.

"Furthermore, no British government can unilaterally limit the role and function of the North South Ministerial Council or rewrite the Good Friday and other agreements.

“We are seeking an urgent meeting with the British Prime Minster on these matters.

“Despite the chaos of Westminster and the brinkmanship of the British government it is clear that European leaders remain resolute.

“All whom we met today made clear that the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop must remain as negotiated.

“The Taoiseach must be equally clear. He must not panic in the face of British government threats or brinkmanship in the coming days and weeks.” 

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