Belfast Telegraph

Martina Anderson: Democratic verdict of the north has to be respected as well

As the Brexit debate continues, we ask our three MEPs to give their views on how they see the situation playing out

By Martina Anderson

In last year's EU referendum the majority of people in the north voted to remain within the bloc.

That 56% was made up of people from across the community - unionist, nationalist and republican.

All communities in the north have benefited from our membership of the European Union.

In particular, the organisation's support for our peace process has been instrumental in strengthening and building communities here and promoting cross-community work.

The PEACE funding programmes are unique in Europe and have brought billions to the north in recent years.

The EU continues to be a strong supporter of the Good Friday Agreement and there is considerable concern across Europe about the British Government's attempts to hollow out and undermine that agreement through Brexit. The British Government, and its allies in the DUP, have never demonstrated full support for the Good Friday Agreement and continue to block its full implementation.

The issue of the 'dark money' received by the DUP from shadowy sources to fund its lavish Brexit campaign, and the recent financial deal between the DUP and the Tories, only make matters worse.

The British Government is not now, nor has it ever been, an impartial observer. Recent events have shown its claims to 'rigorous impartiality' to be laughable.

The Tories are attempting to ignore the democratic position of the north and trample over the rights guaranteed to us by the Good Friday Agreement.

We need to see those rights protected through special designated status for the north within the EU.

The Irish government has a responsibility to act in the national interest of all Irish citizens and, as such, it now needs to protect the Good Friday Agreement and make securing special status for the north within the EU a priority.

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