'Bradley betrays staggering ignorance of GFA' - O’Neill
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill has slammed the British Secretary of State for suggesting that Irish citizens in the North would not be entitled to vote in a referendum on Irish unification.
The Sinn Fein Vice President was commenting after Karen Bradley told the British Parliament that Irish citizens living in the North could not vote in any referendum.
Michelle O’Neill said: “Once again, the British Secretary of State has betrayed a staggering ignorance of the Good Friday Agreement which guarantees the rights of citizens, whether they identify as Irish, British or both.
“The agreement clearly recognises ‘that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland’.
“For Karen Bradley to suggest that Irish citizens would not be entitled to vote in a unity referendum is patently ridiculous.
“It also completely ignores the fact that thousands of Irish citizens voted in the European referendum in 2016. Is she now saying that they did so illegally?
“Her comments may be laughable but they are also typical of a wider disdain within her government for the Good Friday Agreement and the protections contained within it.
“At every stage of the Brexit process, they have sought to undermine the Good Friday Agreement and have recently declared their intention to treat everyone in the North as British citizens.
“That is entirely unacceptable. The British Government cannot and will not be allowed to redefine Irish citizenship or rewrite the Good Friday Agreement.”