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Irish government has a duty to represent best interests of all Irish citizens in Brexit negotiations: Martin McGuinness

Published 22/11/2016

Martin McGuinness said the Irish government has a political and diplomatic duty to the rapidly growing numbers of Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland
Martin McGuinness said the Irish government has a political and diplomatic duty to the rapidly growing numbers of Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said the Irish government has a legal, moral and diplomatic duty to represent the best interests of all Irish citizens in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Speaking at Deloitte's non-executive directors dinner in Dublin's Merrion Hotel to a group of more than 80 directors from across the island, Mr McGuinness said: "The British Government’s intention to drag the North out of the European Union leaves the island of Ireland facing potentially the most destabilising period since partition.

"Our circumstances in the North are unique and there needs to be a recognition of that. The implications for our politics, social interaction and economic prosperity are too grave to do otherwise.

"Political will is required to achieve designated special status for the North, particularly on the part of the Dublin Government who will have a unique and powerful role in the negotiations due to take place once Article 50 is triggered.

"The Irish Government effectively have a seat on both sides of the table in the negotiations. They must use that influence to safeguard the national interest of all our people, of our interdependent and interlinked economies North and South, and the safeguards and advances of the Good Friday and other Agreements.

"As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, they have a legal responsibility to do so. They also have a moral duty to those people from all communities north of the border who democratically voted to remain in the EU and they have a political and diplomatic duty to the rapidly growing numbers of Irish passport holders living in the north."

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