Backstop must be bottom line as Brexit negotiations reach defining moment – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has that that the backstop agreed in December 2017 in itself does not provide the full protections that Ireland requires and, as such, it must be the absolute bottom line for the Irish government and EU negotiators.
The Midlands North West representative said:
“We are now approaching the defining moments of the Brexit negotiations and a lot is at stake.
“Last year, the British government signed up to an agreement with the EU which included provision for a ‘backstop’ aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland with a view to safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement. The backstop, in itself, failed to provide the full protections that the Irish people require but it was an important acknowledgement of the unique circumstances that apply to our country.
“Since that agreement there has been no clarity or legal text on the implementation of the backstop. Instead, we have seen the British Government break through deadlines and avoid living up to their obligations. Their latest proposal is for a time limited backstop which, in reality, means no backstop.
“The British government have been playing to their own lowest common denominator, the DUP and the far right of the Tory party, and have sought to undermine the agreement that they previously signed up to.
“The DUP are clearly willing to allow their own constituents to suffer economically, socially & politically in order to enforce their own outdated ideology. For them, it is simply a hard Brexit and hard border at any cost.
“In response to the current British government machinations it is more vital than ever that EU negotiators stand firm. The backstop must be the bottom line. The Irish government must remain committed and withstand any pressure to back down over the coming days and weeks. This is too important for all the people of Ireland.
“There can be no scope for interpretation in any settlement – experience shows that the British government will attempt to exploit any inconsistency. The language must be clear, concise and unambiguous.
“For our part, we in Sinn Féin at national and EU level, will continue to defend the Irish people including the decision of the people in the north to remain within the EU”.