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EU Brexit guidelines do not go far enough, says Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams [Full statement]

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adam has said the EU negotiating guidelines and the final framework adopted at the European Council summit on Saturday do not go far enough.

Here is his statement in full.

 “We welcome the provision for the North to seamlessly resume full EU status following a successful Irish Unity Referendum. However, It is disappointing and deeply concerning that even at the first hurdle the Irish government has fallen short.  The EU Council guidelines fail to go far enough. They do not even match those agreed by the EU Parliament.  If the Irish government fails to secure a better deal for Ireland during the actual negotiations, the implications for the economy and Good Friday Agreement will be profound."

“The Good Friday Agreement provided for a pathway to Irish Unity. We welcome that this provision has been reflected in the discussions to allow the North to seamlessly resume full status with the EU following of a successful Irish Unity referendum.  In the Dáil next week we will be asking the Taoiseach to set out how this will be achieved.  Alongside this, it is time for the Irish government to set out the criteria and context against which they will judge it is time to support the calling of a referendum on Irish unity.

 “Today’s extraordinary meeting of the European Council was very important for Ireland, north and south. There was a high level of media spin that the Irish government would deliver in the national interest.   It is disappointing and deeply concerning that even at the first hurdle that the Irish government has once again fallen short. The European Council guidelines should have gone considerably further. There is support for Ireland in Europe and the Taoiseach has failed to harness it.

“There is widespread recognition across the EU of the unique and special circumstances faced by Ireland as a result of Brexit.  There is also widespread support for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement. A stronger approach from the Irish government, could have achieved far more today.  There is now a huge amount to do in the coming negotiations.

"The Taoiseach cannot do the lifting for the British Government. He has to stand up for Ireland’s national interest and put this before any other consideration.

 “The best way to secure Ireland’s future is through designated special status for the North within the EU. This can still be achieved, if this objective becomes a priority for An Taoiseach. The government needs to discuss with our EU partners; how all of Ireland can remain members of the Single Market and the Common Travel area, how EU funding streams can continue to be accessed, how the rights of Irish citizens in the north will be delivered, how trading arrangements, north and south and between Ireland and Britain are protected.  And critically how the Good Friday Agreement is preserved in all its parts, because that is how we will continue to advance the peace process.

 “Sinn Féin remains committed to securing designated special status for the North within the EU. We will continue with our diplomatic offensive and engage with all relevant parties and actors in Ireland and in the EU to bring it about.”

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