Belfast Telegraph

Exit 'poses no danger to Good Friday accord'

By Allan Preston

The Irish ambassador to the UK has promised that Brexit will not undo the work of the Good Friday Agreement.

Giving evidence in Westminster to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Daniel Mulhall insisted it was "essential that Brexit does not affect the Good Friday Agreement, and that the people of Northern Ireland can have confidence that this will be the case".

The comments were welcomed by Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan, who said the Irish Republic would be Northern Ireland's closest ally after Brexit.

Mr Mulhall told MPs the Republic would inevitably seek to attract firms leaving the UK after Brexit, but was confident a deal could be reached to preserve close trade links between the two countries.

"This is a pragmatic response on the part of the Irish government to managing the downsides of Brexit and responding to the reality that some companies will feel a need to move," he said.

The ambassador said neither Taoiseach Enda Kenny nor Prime Minister Theresa May wanted a hard border, but admitted "arrangements with regard to customs will be complicated".

The Prime Minister has said the UK will not remain in the EU single market, but will instead negotiate a new customs arrangement.

Mr Kinahan said he welcomed the ambassador's comments as "pragmatic and open minded".

"While some have questioned the impact Brexit will have on the Belfast Agreement, it was refreshing to hear from Ambassador Mulhall that there is an absolute determination on behalf of the Irish government to ensure that the Agreement is not impacted," he added.

"After Brexit occurs the Republic of Ireland are likely to be our closest allies within the European Union.

"It is vital that we continue to have good relations to enable cooperation on immigration and security matters and to maintain the common travel area."

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