Adams questions May’s Commitment to no hard border

Speaking in the Dáil today on his Brexit Bill Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams expressed concern at claims of ‘new thinking’ by the British in dealing with the issue of a hard border said that the “Irish government carries an onerous responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens on this island, both in relation to Brexit and the future of the Good Friday Agreement”.

The Louth TD expressed his disappointment that the government rejected a Sinn Féin Bill which called for additional formal reporting by the government to the Dáil on the Brexit negotiations.

Commenting on recent developments in the Brexit process the former Sinn Féin leader expressed his concern at the commitment of Theresa May to ensure that there will be no border controls. Teachta Adams specifically raised the issue of rights for EU citizens in the North. The EU Legal Text published on March 1st was very explicit on this but thus far we have seen no progress.

Addressing Minister Coveney, Teachta Adams said:

“Today, following his meeting with Theresa May, the Taoiseach reports that the British will now table a new proposal on a future customs relationship within the next two weeks. This is new thinking he said.

We were told that in December when the EU/British joint agreement was achieved only to have the British Prime Minister repudiate the EU legal text in February. Remember her blunt: “No UK prime Minister would ever agree to it.” Why should this time be any different?

This is the same British Prime Minister who last week claimed that only British soldiers are being investigated in relation to legacy matters. As the Minister knows this is a patent untruth.

This is the same British government that refuses to provide information on the role of its agents in the Dublin-Monaghan bombs which took place on this date 44 years ago.

And this is the same British Prime Minister who has done a deal with the DUP which is taking precedence over her obligations in respect of the Good Friday Agreement.

The EU legal text accepts that the alignment option contained in the December agreement means that the North shall be “considered part of the customs territory of the EU”. It explicitly states that there should be “no diminution of rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity as set out” in the Good Friday Agreement. And it definitively demands that the Good Friday Agreement and its subsequent implementation agreements “should be protected in all its parts”. There is significant concern at the British commitment to this.

In his response to the joint agreement in December the Taoiseach addressed northern nationalist and said: “There will be no hard border on our island. You will never again be left behind by an Irish Government”.
The Irish government therefore carries an onerous responsibility to live up to this commitment and to protect the rights of all citizens on this island, both in relation to Brexit and the future of the Good Friday Agreement.
If an agreement is reached in the upcoming negotiations between the EU and the British government, it cannot fall short of the position that the legal text has established”.

Change of British PM presents challenge for Taoiseach

DSC_3254_6510Gerry Adams TD speaking at the Dáil today said that the Brexit vote and the change of leadership in Britain presents difficulties and challenges for the Taoiseach.

Teachta Adams said:

“I want to congratulate Theresa May on becoming the leader of the British Conservative Party.

Tomorrow evening, she will succeed David Cameron as British Prime Minister.

This change presents considerable difficulties and challenges for our government, for the relationships within this island, within the North, and between this island and Britain.

Theresa May has expressed her determination to act on the Brexit vote.

She also takes over from David Cameron who has been remiss in fulfilling his obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, under the Stormont House Agreement, and under the Fresh Start agreement.

The Taoiseach and the government needs to have a consistent strategic programme of working with the British government on all of these matters, as well as drawing upon the broad international support we enjoy.

Unfortunately, that focus has not been there as much as it needs to be. So, the upcoming period is going to be particularly difficult and particularly challenging.”

Speaking on the issue of a referendum on Irish Unity Gerry Adams said:

“We want to see a referendum on Irish unity. Had there been no referendum on Brexit we would still want to see that. It is part of the Good Friday Agreement. I am pleased that there is more debate than there has been for some time.

I believe the destination for the people of this island has to be within a united Ireland, however that manifests itself. It is a democratic issue for people. It is the only way to go.”

The Sinn Féin leader added:

“There are two main legs to this. One is the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement and the broad political and peace processes, and the second the social and economic consequences of Brexit.

We need in the first case make sure that the imperative of the Good Friday Agreement prevails, and in the second case to minimise the potential negative consequences of the exit of one part of this island from the European Union while the other part stays.

It is important to understand that Theresa May is against the European Convention on Human Rights and that is a cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement. Any attempt to tamper with that in the time ahead is bad. The Taoiseach needs to be on his game.”

Asked about the future for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach Gerry Adams said:

“It is entirely a matter for Fine Gael who leads Fine Gael. It is of course our business who leads the government. We have a government without authority. We have a government that does not have a mandate to government except in that which was put together with the indulgence of Fianna Fáil. And of course, Fianna Fáil’s interest is entirely self-interest and party political. A government without authority and distracted by internal issues is not what is needed at this time.”