Tory contempt for GFA must be challenged – Ní Riada

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said Ireland and Europe must stand up to the British Government’s contempt for the Good Friday Agreement.

The Ireland South MEP was speaking as it was revealed that Theresa May had asked the Irish Government to “ease off” its emphasis on the Peace Process during Brexit negotiations.

“This is typical of the contempt the Tory Government have for the Good Friday Agreement and the Irish Peace Process,” she said.

“At every stage they have sought to undermine it, whether it is through destabilising attempts to deal with legacy issues by demanding special treatment for British soldiers, reneging on agreements to appease the DUP, ignoring the remain vote in the north or simply the very telling fact that Ireland wasn’t even an afterthought for them during the Brexit campaign.

“They have made clear they will quite happily wreck our economy in their mad pursuit for a fantasy Brexit that does not exist and now it appears as if they are quite happy dismiss and belittle the Peace Process.

“Last year I proposed an amendment to the EU 2018 Budget which committed Europe to supporting and protecting the Peace Process and acknowledging the unique challenges Brexit posed for Ireland.

“Thankfully that amendment was passed with the overwhelming support of MEPs.

“It’s long past time Theresa May realised that the issue of Ireland, the border and the Peace Process is not a petty inconvenience to be brushed aside.

“It is a key part of the negotiations and neither Sinn Féin, the Irish people nor the 522 MEPs who supported my amendment will allow it to be treated otherwise.

“We are now five months from when Britain intends to leave the EU but for there to be enough time for a deal to be ratified it must be agreed by the end of October.

“The British Government are playing with people’s lives and livelihoods. They need to get real, stop treating Ireland as something that can be glossed over and agree to a realistic backstop on the border.”

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