– Measures needed to strengthen engagement with Unionist community –

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on North South Bodies & Cross Border Co-Operation Declan Breathnach has called on Unionist representatives to fully engage in the Good Friday Agreement Committee’s work on dealing with Brexit.

The committee is due to meet next Tuesday to discuss the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement. Under the committee’s Orders of Reference, Westminster MPs elected from Northern Ireland constituencies have speaking rights at committee meetings.

Deputy Breathnach said, “Brexit is an extremely serious geo-political development. It presents a major economic and political challenge to every community on this island. Once Article 50 is invoked in January we need to be clear on how best to ensure that there is no return to a hard border.

“The Good Friday Agreement is an international treaty lodged in the UN and settled into the broader framework of EU law. It is important that the potential of the deal is fully lived up to. Avoiding a potentially disastrous hard border is a shared interest between all communities on the island. I am calling on Unionist MP’s to fully engage in the work of the committee and other North – South bodies to build a shared approach on how this can be achieved.

“After years of progress we cannot allow Brexit to set us back. I appreciate that Unionist MPs have reservations about engaging with the committee. However it is in our shared interests to secure a deal that prevents any return of a hard border and fully recognises the unique position of Northern Ireland.

“I am calling on Unionists MP’s to reach out and engage with the committee. In this light I have written to the clerk of the committee to request that time be put aside to discuss how best we can ensure that the Unionist voice is represented in the committee’s work in future,” concluded Deputy Breathnach.

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