Published: Wed, February 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Theresa May insists United Kingdom committed to Good Friday Agreement

Theresa May insists United Kingdom committed to Good Friday Agreement

He said: "Talking down [the] Good Friday Agreement because it raises serious and genuine questions of those pursuing Brexit is not only irresponsible but reckless and potentially undermines the foundations of a fragile peace process in Northern Ireland that should never be taken for granted".

After speaking with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Monday evening, a spokesperson for Number 10 said "They spoke about the recent phase of political talks in Northern Ireland and of their disappointment that an agreement had not yet been reached to restore an Executive". The result was 71.1% in favour.

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney slammed efforts to "talk down" the Good Friday Agreement as "irresponsible and reckless" - later insisting that both the Irish & British governments remain "absolutely committed" to it.

The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will be the UK's only land frontier with the EU after it leaves and Dublin hopes a new customs union partnership between Britain and the EU will remove the threat of a hard border returning.

Her comments, coming swiftly after similar comments made by the former Conservative Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson and pro-Brexit MEP Daniel Hannan, were also roundly condemned by Labour's shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Smith, who questioned their timing. Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland secretary, will make a statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

Brexit doesn't mean a 'Mad Max-style free-for-all'
In a speech in Vienna, he vowed to ensure trade with the European Union remained as "frictionless as possible" after the split.

Border checks could be required on the island of Ireland even if Britain strikes a "very satisfactory" customs agreement with the European Union if the post-Brexit deal does not keep standards aligned, Ireland's agriculture minister said on Wednesday. But with the Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, reiterating there would be no re-forming of Stormont's powersharing Executive without an Irish language Act, and the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, calling on the British government to start "taking decisions" in the North, there appeared to be little sign of a possible breakthrough.

"We've got to sustain the agreement and defend it, because it is the only viable route to peace in Northern Ireland".

Ms Hoey said her questions over the future of the agreement were nothing to do with Brexit.

"The Belfast agreement has been changed slightly over the years with the St Andrew's agreement".

If a hard border was to be reintroduced between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit, this could also have a significant negative impact on the drinks industry supply chain, leading to "delays, costs and bureaucracy", the ABFI said.

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