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Theresa May: Brexit deal must 'protect the union' between Northern Ireland and Great Britain

Theresa May
Theresa May

The Prime Minister has said any deal with the EU over Brexit “must protect the union” between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

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Theresa May, writing in the Sunday Times on Sunday, also said there could be no hard border in Ireland.

“As a proud unionist and prime minister of the whole United Kingdom I am clear that any deal with the EU must protect our precious Union and also honour the agreements that were reached in the historic Northern Irish peace process,” she said.

“This means there can be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

“We will uphold the Belfast agreement in full- and we will ensure the constitutional and economic integrity of the whole United Kingdom.”

Mrs May added that any agreement “must create as little friction as possible” for trade both within the UK and with Ireland.

Mairtin O Muilleoir

However, Sinn Fein MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir hit out at Mrs May’s article.

“Today’s piece by Theresa May is devoid of detail and free of facts,” he said.

“Theresa May could have written the same article any time over the last 23 months.

“The British Tory party’s proposals for a red, white and blue Brexit disregard the vote of the majority of people in the north to remain in the European Union.  

“Two years after the referendum and six months away from the conclusion of negotiations Theresa May has no plan or agreed approach to the British Brexit problem."

Mr Ó Muilleoir said the solution to the Irish border problem was “clear.”

“The British government must respect the vote of the people of north and provide for the north to remain within the EU single market and customs union,” he said.

“It must protect the Good Friday Agreement and retain access for citizens to the European Court of Justice and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

“Fifty years after the Civil Rights campaign there can be no diminution of rights.

“It’s well past time for Theresa May to act with the rigorous impartial demanded of her government by the internationally binding Good Friday Agreement than acting in the selfish party political interests of the Tory party and its DUP partners.

Meanwhile, a report by pro-Brexit campaign group Leave Means Live has argued that existing technology is “more than capable of permitting a friction-free border”.

The report found that Ireland conducts the lowest level of physical inspections in the world- just 1%- and that 95-99% of goods traded between developed countries avoid physical inspection.

The reports cites the Svinesund crossing on the Norway-Sweden border, which uses cameras with numberplate recognition to track vehicles. A mobile customs unit checks anything deemed suspicious.

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