Better no border at all – Adams

Speaking in tonight’s Dáil debate on the draft Withdrawal Agreement relating to Brexit the Louth TD Gerry Adams expressed his concern at the failure of the draft Agreement to protect the rights of Irish/EU citizens living in the North and of the dangers Brexit poses to the Good Friday Agreement.

The Louth TD reminded the Taoiseach that last December he said that citizens in the North “will never again be left behind by an Irish Government”. Last December’s Joint Report by the ERU and British government stated that there would be “no diminution of rights” and that “Irish citizens will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens, including where they reside in Northern Ireland”

However, this has now been deleted. That is a significant backward step. While the draft Agreement does contain a clause on rights it is not legally binding. The government should be very aware that Irish citizens in the North are very conscious of that. Recently one thousand leaders of civic nationalism reminded the Taoiseach of his commitments”.

Teachta Adams raised the fact that Irish and EU citizens in the North will not be able to elect an MEP. He asked the Taoiseach if in light of the additional two seats being allocated to the state for the European Parliament, if the government has “considered allocating them to the North?”

The Louth TD pointed out that the draft Withdrawal Agreement means that the European Charter of Fundamental Rights will no longer apply in the north, which means that certain rights will be undermined. These include “a range of social and economic rights, including workers’ rights, which people currently enjoy in the EU which will now be left to the British government’s discretion”.

The Louth TD also raised the threat posed by Brexit to the Good Friday Agreement, and in particular the failure of the British government to exercise its power in the North with rigorous impartiality. Gerry Adams said: “The British refusal to defend the rights of Irish language speakers; to protect equality and human rights for gay and lesbian citizens; to implement agreements on legacy; or to honour outstanding Agreement commitments, on establishing a Bill of Rights, and create a Civic Forum, are all evidence of the absence of ‘rigorous impartiality’.

Moreover, following Brexit the British Conservatives remain wedded to ending the role of the European Court of Justice and getting rid of the Human Rights Act which protects the equality and human rights principles of the Agreement. Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement.”

Concluding Gerry Adams proposed that in the context of Brexit Irish unity takes on a greater significance and imperative.

He said: “This is a logical, common sense outcome to the political, social and economic fractures imposed by partition but it also makes sense in the current Brexit provoked crisis. Apart from any other consideration reunification will allow for the North to again become part of the EU. Hard border? Soft border? Better to have no border at all. That’s what the government and the Oireachtas should be working for.”

Brexit chaos threat to Louth – Adams

Commenting on the current crisis arising from Brexit withdrawal agreement Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams

” Brexit is a deadly serious issue. It poses a significant threat to the economy of County Louth, to jobs and infrastructure. It threatens the two economies on this island, will undermine social cohesion, and directly attacks the Good Friday Agreement. The crisis within the British government, the chaos within Westminster, and the fallout between the DUP and the Tory leader Theresa May highlights the stupidity, insanity, absurdity and ludicrousness of Brexit.

“In the referendum in 2016 the clear majority of voters in the North voted to remain within the EU. The DUP and the British government continue to disrespect that democratic vote.

“Sinn Féin has consistently campaigned for the North to be designated a special status within the EU in order to ensure there is no hard border and that communities and businesses, especially along the border corridor, are protected. Our MEPS led this effort in the European Parliament. In Ireland, North and South and in Westminster we consistently pressed this proposal.  The draft withdrawal agreement, and in particular the backstop arrangement, if implemented would go some way to achieving this objective.

“However we should not lose sight of the fact that the current draft withdrawal agreement will not stop Brexit. The British Conservative Government remains committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act that is the foundation stone on which the equality and human rights elements of the Good Friday Agreement are based. Moreover, the British Prime Minister repeated her intention in recent days to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the Common Agricultural Policy.

“The reality is that the agreement reached between the EU and the British can only moderate some of the worst aspects of Brexit. As one of the four remain parties in the north, which represent the majority view, Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that our economy, communities, the rights of citizens and the Good Friday Agreement are protected.”

Adams urges Irish America Trade Union support for referendum on Unity

Gerry with Terry O’Sullivan President LiUNA & Thomas Callahan President IUOE

Sinn Féin Louth TD and former Party Leader Gerry Adams has just returned from New York where he spoke at a packed meeting of Trade Union leaders organised by the James Connolly Labor Coalition. On Friday evening he was the main speaker at the eighth annual Irish Echo Labor Awards.

Gerry Adams addressed both events on the issues of Brexit and Irish Unity.

Gerry Adams said:

“Brexit presents the most serious social, economic and political threat to the people of the island of Ireland for a generation. The British Conservative government, supported by the Democratic Unionist Party, is determined to drag the North out of the EU.

The current uncertainty around the negotiations between the London government and the EU is adding to an atmosphere of uncertainty and concern. In particular, there are very real dangers posed the imposition of any border checks. There are tens of thousands of jobs at risk in the two economies on the island of Ireland.

The Irish government has a responsibility to defend the democratic vote of the people of the north to remain within the EU and to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected. Whatever the outcome of the current negotiations the rights and entitlements of the people of the North, as envisioned in the Good Friday Agreement, must be protected.”

The Louth TD also urged Irish American trade unionists to add their support to the growing call for a referendum on Irish unity. Mr. Adams said:

“The issue of a unity referendum and the goal of a united Ireland is now a matter of almost daily conversation. Our task as united Irelanders is to achieve these objectives in the shortest possible time with the maximum level of popular support. And we will achieve this sooner with the help and support of Irish America.

The vast majority of people in Ireland and in the Irish diaspora scattered across the globe want a society in Ireland that is based on values of social justice, fairness, equality and decency. This can best be achieved in a new and shared Ireland.”

Finally, Gerry Adams TD commended the initiative by a coalition of Irish American organisations for the McGuinness Principles. Mr. Adams said: “These principles are about implementing the Good Friday Agreement. They are for a Bill of Rights; equality for the Irish language; justice for the victims of conflict and their families; and support for a referendum on Irish unity.

They are modelled on the very successful MacBride Principles campaign against job discrimination. The success of that campaign shows the potential for Irish America achieving the same positive outcome with the McGuinness Principles.”

Ó Murchú: Brexit Breakfast, Useful Info for Local Businesses

Vincent Power (L) and Thomas McEvoy (R) with Cllr Ruairi Ó Murchú

Louth Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú attended the recent business themed Brexit briefing hosted by Louth Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland in the Ballymascanlon Hotel on Thursday last.

Councillor Ó Murchú said;

“The SCBI / LEO breakfast was certainly more impressive than recent commentary from Boris Johnson and others in relation to the entire Brexit debacle.

“This event, which had presentations by the SCBI, Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the LEO was designed to inform local businesses of the range of supports and finance that are available to business for Brexit proofing.”

Cllr Ó Murchú advised that “there is a necessity to draw the business community’s attention to these Brexit preparation aids.”

InterTrade Ireland has a ‘Brexit Voucher’ system which allows companies to engage a professional, to the value of €1,250 to evaluate its exposure to Brexit.

Enterprise Ireland offer ‘Be Prepared Grants’ for SMEs who would benefit from further research and may need specialist services in developing their Brexit plan. This grant can be up to €5,000.

The SCBI Brexit Loan Scheme offers amounts of between €25,000 to €1.5m, loan terms ranging from 1 year to 3 years and unsecured loans up to €500,000. All information relating to these schemes are to be found on each organisation’s website.

“The LEO contribution by Thomas McEvoy was a comprehensive list of the many services available to companies in relation to planning, marketing, their online platforms etc. and didn’t just relate to Brexit.

“For information on the all these services go to

“Any measures which may mitigate some of the negatives of the Brexit process on Irish companies are to be welcomed. I would encourage companies and businesses in Louth to seek further information from the Local Enterprise Office.”

This event was attended by representatives of many local businesses both SMEs and larger companies.

“Their attendance is proof of the levels of concern among the business community regarding the negative effects Brexit could have on their ability to trade competitively.

“Sinn Féin has consistently said that Brexit will be bad for Ireland, north and south, in economic, political, social and cultural terms. I believe that the Irish Government must ensure the backstop agreement is enacted in the event of a no deal Brexit.

“Dr Vincent Power, the highly entertaining keynote speaker told of the spectrum of Brexit in relation to the multiple facets of the economy and society and its impact upon them. Brexit in relation to people and goods being different to Brexit in relation to services and that’s not to speak of medicines and aviation etc. He explained the Customs Union and Single Market as being maintained by a hermetical seal along EU borders which are a lot less porous than ours. He stated that any Brexit deal likely to be done would be a ‘skinny deal’ and a perpetual state of negotiations between Britain and the EU.

“Following my question on how he foresaw the Irish border post Brexit. He couldn’t see anything other than a ‘Hong Kong’ type solution and a border in the Irish sea. Anything else would have definite ramifications for border communities and businesses.

“This solution sounds to me like special designated status for the 6 counties, which would allow it to stay within the EU and maintain the necessary alignments between North and South.

“This was a useful event and I commend the staff of Louth LEO for convening this information briefing.”

British advice on future cross border trade deeply insulting – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin Louth councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that advice given to businesses in the North by British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday 23rd August is deeply insulting and displays the complete lack of concern for Irish interests.

Councillor Ó Murchú said:

“It is breath-taking that Dominic Raab had the audacity to advise businesses in the North in his technical papers to consult the Irish Government if they need guidance on cross border trade post Brexit.

“Brexit is a mess of the British Government’s making. For too long the Tories have pandered to Brexiteers within their own party and now to the DUP which is propping up their government.

“It is blatantly obvious that they are not worried about the people of the North, who voted to Remain, and they are not acting in their best interests whatsoever. Any economic uncertainty for business in the North will have a detrimental impact on business here in the South, of that there is no doubt.

“If it proves too difficult for businesses here to trade with the North or vice versa then we will see businesses close. During the past weeks we have heard of the possible catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit on the electricity market in the North. We have also learned that Ireland’s medicine and blood stocks could be in jeopardy in the event of a hard Brexit.

“The British ‘Border Security Bill’ would see the creation of a one-mile border zone where members of the public could be stopped, searched and detained. This would also be the case at train stations. We could be facing the unacceptable vista of id and passport checks for travel from Dundalk to South Armagh or Newry.

“It is almost September. The British government has admitted this week that the October deadline may be missed. We still have no detail regarding the backstop agreement which comes into effect in the event of a hard Brexit. The Taoiseach and his government cannot allow this to stand.

“The people of this border region, as well as businesses that operate across the border need certainty and clarity on this issue. I call on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to press home this point.

“It shows once again that we need a special meeting in September between Britain and the EU to deal exclusively with the arrangements for the north. This needs to happen as a matter of urgency.”