Belfast Telegraph

Brexit won't hinder peace process in Northern Ireland, says Coveney

By Steven Alexander

The Irish government will not allow Brexit to undermine the Good Friday Agreement, the Tanaiste has told a US audience.

Speaking in New York, Simon Coveney said that one of the Republic's aims in the Brexit negotiations is "the creation of the closest possible future connection between the EU and the UK".

Addressing an event organised by Columbia University, Mr Coveney added: "The other key strategic objective for us is to ensure that the outcome of Brexit does not in any way undermine the hard won gains of the peace process, as exemplified by the Good Friday Agreement.

"The EU, and of course the US, played a pivotal role in this achievement, together with the British and Irish Governments.

"And the Agreement was endorsed by huge majorities in Northern Ireland and in Ireland. We therefore all share the same goal of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the gains of the peace process."

He also stressed the importance of restoring Stormont, in order "to harness greater and broader Northern Ireland input into how to make the best of Brexit".

Due to the current crisis, Northern Ireland is represented at the Joint Ministerial Committee on Europe by the head of the Civil Service. It is the only UK devolved region not to have political representation on Brexit.

"Despite the efforts of both Governments in recent months, and especially in recent weeks, it is deeply regrettable that there is at present no power-sharing Executive in place. However, we will not give up - we cannot give up," Mr Coveney said.

Belfast Telegraph

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