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Irish government must fulfil duty to stand up for rights of citizens - O'Dowd

24 January, 2017 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd has said the judgement by the British Supreme Court today requires consideration in regards to its implications for the Good Friday Agreement and the legislation which underpins it.

Mr O'Dowd said;

“Westminster in pursuit of Brexit may well impose the amendment of the 1998 NI Act which gives legislative authority to the Good Friday Agreement. 

"That Agreement was endorsed with by an overwhelming majority of citizens across the island of Ireland, as well as the Irish and British Governments who are co-guarantors responsible for safeguarding its integrity.

"It is not the unilateral right of the British Government to interfere with the Agreement.

"The Irish government must fulfil their moral and legal duty to stand up for the rights of all citizens in the North.

“While the Supreme Court ruled against the case that the Assembly should have the right to have its say on Brexit through a legislative consent motion, no court or Government can overrule the democratically expressed wishes of the people here to remain within the EU.

"Sinn Féin want to secure the natural position of the whole island of Ireland within the EU together by designating Special Status to the North within the European Union.

"Last week’s statement by the British Prime Minister Teresa May confirmed her intention for a hard Brexit. 

"This in turn means a hard border on the island of Ireland. 

"Today’s court judgement cannot and will not prevent that. 

"The Good Friday Agreement must be protected by all those who signed up to it. 

"There is a particular onus on the Irish Government to take a stand in the forthcoming negotiations with the other EU member states."

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