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Brexit could risk stability of Good Friday Agreement - Kathleen Funchion TD

15 February, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Speaking this evening during Sinn Féin's PMB on Brexit, Sinn Féin's Kathleen Funchion TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Committee said that the potential consequences for the stability of the Good Friday Agreement were significant.

She said:

“The Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Committee has been inviting civic and business groups and political representatives to present to the committee since the Brexit vote was passed.There has been cross party consensus in the committee there will be consequences for the whole island - not only economically but crucially, politically as well.

“Initially, we heard from both governments there could be absolutely no return to a hard border. As of yet, we haven’t heard what alternative there is.

There appears to be no urgency on this government’s part through its negotiations with the British government for special status for the north or to ensure the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Since the publication of the  British government’s white paper on Brexit last month,  the establishment of a border between the north and south once the Britain leaves the EU in 2019 has become much more of a reality. It stated its aim is to have “as seamless and frictionless a border as possible between Northern Ireland and Ireland”. There is no doubt from this language that there will be one.

“We also know that Britain could be in breach of its international obligations under the Good Friday Agreement if it presses ahead with plans to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights.There is a clear obligation on both  governments to incorporate the Convention on Human Rights into law in both the 26 and 6 counties.

“Therefore, should the Human Rights Act be scrapped, the move would place the UK in breach of its international obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.

“We in Sinn Féin have argued at a local, national and European level for a special designated status to assure the north remains in the EU. The only way to ensure that consequences of Brexit for both north and south are minimised economically and politically, is if the democratic wish of the people of the north of Ireland is respected with the north receiving special status to remain in the EU.”

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