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Theresa May speech: EU and UK to protect Belfast Agreement and Common Travel Area

Theresa May has stated that the EU and the UK have committed to protecting the Belfast Agreement and the Common Travel Area.

During Friday's major speech to EU leaders in Florence, the Prime Minster reiterated her commitment to the Northern Ireland peace process.

"There are unique issues when it comes to Northern Ireland," she said.

Full speech: World is watching us for Brexit deal success, PM to tell EU leaders

"The UK government, the Irish government and the EU as a whole have been clear that through the process of our withdrawal we will protect progress made in Northern Ireland over recent years, and the lives and livelihood that depend on this progress.

"As part of this we and the EU have committed to protecting the Belfast Agreement and the Common Travel Area. And looking ahead we have both stated explicitly that we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border. We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland, and indeed everyone on the island of Ireland, to see through these commitments."

Responding to the speech, Sinn Fein's Brexit spokesperson and TD David Cullinane said the speech was "high on rhetoric, but short on detail" and it did not address issues related to Ireland.

"The British government needs to realise that there can be no better and brighter future for people in Ireland if the north is taken out of EU and of the Customs Union," he said.

"The British government has published papers on Ireland which have not addressed the key issues of avoiding a border, citizens’ rights, and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

"It is deeply disappointing that the issues in relation to Ireland have not moved on in any substantial way."

Other politicians from across the province took to Twitter to express their feelings on the speech.

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