Belfast Telegraph

Don't mention the peace: Claim UK officials requested less emphasis during Brexit talks

A report has claimed British officials ask the Dublin administration to play down its emphasis on peace during the Brexit process.

The Irish Times, however, reported the request was refused as the peace process is viewed as central to the talks by the Irish government.

The paper claimed Prime Minister Theresa May was concerned her credentials as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement were being undermined throughout the process.

There have been numerous claims Brexit will undermine peace in Northern Ireland. In recent months dissident republicans have declared a ceasefire and the UK government downgraded the threat level from Northern Ireland-related terrorism.

Northern Ireland has become one of the major sticking points in the Brexit talks. A backstop - that is the default position should no deal be reach - has been proposed by the EU which would see Northern Ireland remain within a customs union with the EU in order to maintain a frictionless border. It has been rejected by the Prime Minister.

Theresa May had proposed a solution which would see the EU and the UK in a common customs area and aligned to the European single market for goods - which has been met with opposition both within Europe and the Conservative party.

Before the summer break the Commons approved legislation which would make it illegal for a customs border to be placed down the Irish Sea.

And Theresa May has made a commitment there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland.

A source told the Irish Times: “Successive Irish and British governments have protected a hard-won peace in Northern Ireland and we need to make sure that continues, regardless of Brexit.”

"This includes a need for no hard Border."

Another said the peace process was a concern for both nationalists and unionists including those within the Conservative party.

In response a spokesman for the Prime Minister referred to her speech in Belfast last month.

In that she spoke of the principles laid out in the Good Friday Agreement and how it was the bedrock for peace and stability in Northern Ireland.

"The protection of the peace process and upholding our binding commitments in the Belfast Agreement are grave responsibilities," she said.

"Not to seek a solution would be to resume our career as an independent sovereign trading nation by betraying commitments to part of our nation and to our nearest neighbour."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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