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Sinn Fein calls for special summit to resolve Irish border issues before October EU summit

Sinn Fein has called for a special EU summit to be held in September to resolve the Irish border issue before the crunch October talks.

The Irish border remains a sticking point in the Brexit talks despite the UK and EU agreeing there should be no hard border in Ireland.

However, the two negotiating teams have failed to agree how this could be achieved.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald and deputy leader Michelle O'Neill met with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday.

Mrs McDonald said: “Last week’s visit by Theresa May to Belfast has raised very serious concerns over the British government’s approach to Brexit.

“In December we were told that a ‘backstop’ was a cast-iron guarantee, that the Good Friday Agreement would be protected in word and spirit, and that there would be no diminution of rights for Irish and EU citizens in the north.

“The British government is seeking to row back on these commitments and to bin the December agreement. Theresa May is placing her personal self-interest to stay in Downing Street ahead of the needs of Ireland, north and south.

“The British government is now engaged in a game of brinkmanship which puts our all-island economy and our agreements at risk. There is no certainty and no clarity on Irish interests.

“The EU has made clear that without the ‘backstop’ there will be no Withdrawal Agreement and that the interests of Ireland must be dealt with in line with the December agreement. 

“Michel Barnier assured us this remains the case and that Britain must agree workable solutions in line with the December agreement.

“We believe that this must be given affect and the EU should call time on British Government stalling. The EU should hold a special summit in advance of October to resolve Irish issues before closing on the withdrawal agreement.”

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