Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein leader calls for Good Friday Agreement to be protected during meeting with EU Brexit negotiator

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald discussed the need "to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement" with the EU chief negotiator on Brexit.

Speaking following a meeting with Michel Barnier on Monday, the Sinn Fein leader said:  “Today’s meeting with Michel Barnier was very productive. We discussed the need to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), our economy North and south, and the rights of citizens.

“We raised our continued frustration at the failure of British Government to bring forward any workable solutions to the problems caused by Brexit.

“Michel Barnier clearly understands the challenges that Brexit presents to the GFA.

“It is clear that the British Government can no longer hide behind rhetoric or vague aspirations.

“What is required is clarity and legal certainty for our people, our businesses, and our agreements and that is what has been absent from the British Government.”

Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster will lead a party delegation to meet Mr Barnier on Tuesday.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Mrs Foster said: “The DUP wants to see a sensible Brexit which works for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom but also for our nearest neighbours too. 

"We will not countenance any proposal which would create a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.  The economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must be respected and protected. 

"72% of all goods leaving Belfast port are destined for Great Britain. We trade more with the rest of the United Kingdom than anywhere else - even combined. Placing a border down the Irish Sea would not just be politically unacceptable but would be economically catastrophic."

She added: "The December agreement needs to be translated fully and not some elements of it dismissed in order to fulfil one particular outcome.  The draft legal text produced last week is not a full and faithful representation. 

"It is utterly unacceptable for Northern Ireland to be treated separately from the rest of the United Kingdom as set out in the draft EU legal text.  We will never support any such concept and the EU need to realise such concepts will never be accepted and agreed by the UK.”

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