Brexit Negotiations’ time to move from aspiration to agreement’ – McDonald
Today, the British Government produced their long-awaited Brexit white paper on the future relationship with the European Union. Speaking following its publication, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said:
“We welcome the commitment to no hard border on the island of Ireland, a commitment to the letter and spirit and of the Good Friday Agreement, and the commitment to a backstop for the Island of Ireland.
“However, we were given these commitments as part of the agreement last December.
“We had been promised legal clarity and certainty by March of this year and again in June.
“Today’s document does not provide the necessary legal certainty and clarity on the Irish backstop or the rights of citizens in the North.
“It is well past time to move beyond promises. What is required is immediate and urgent negotiations to deliver clarity and certainty on Ireland’s interests and the rights of citizens.
“There is an onus on the Irish Government and our EU partners to remain true to the position of ‘Ireland First’.
“It is time for the British government to live up to their responsibilities to safeguard the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement; to no diminution of citizens’ rights and to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“It is time for negotiations to move from aspiration to agreement.
“It is time for the British government to live up to their responsibilities by providing legal guarantees which safeguard the Good Friday Agreement, ensure that there will not be any diminution of citizens’ rights, and that hard border will be avoided.
“This must mean obtaining legal assurances that the Irish protocol and backstop will be included as part of the final withdrawal treaty.
“There can be no negotiation on the future relationship until the Irish question has been answered comprehensively.
“This will require an EU leader’s summit to resolve the Irish issues in advance of the planned summit in October.”