Friday 23 June 2017

Adams's Brexit claims 'have no basis in fact', says UK government

Gerry Adams reiterated his claims about Brexit harming the Good Friday Agreement at a conference in Dublin on Saturday. Photo: Tom Burke
Gerry Adams reiterated his claims about Brexit harming the Good Friday Agreement at a conference in Dublin on Saturday. Photo: Tom Burke

Michael McHugh

Gerry Adams's claims that Brexit will destroy the Good Friday Agreement have been rubbished by the British government as well as legal advisers in the North.

The Sinn Féin president alleged fundamental human rights enshrined in the 1998 accord to end violence could be undermined.

"The British position also fails to take account of the fact that citizens in the North, under the agreement, have a right to Irish citizenship and therefore EU citizenship," Mr Adams said.

But the top legal adviser to Stormont ministers has said not one word in the agreement would be affected.

A statement from the UK government said none of the institutions and provisions set out in the Belfast Agreement, including those relating to human rights, is in any way undermined by the decision of the UK to leave the EU. It added: "These comments are totally without any basis in fact."

The Sinn Féin leader said Northern Ireland should enjoy special status within the union of 27 states after Brexit, and claimed that would not affect the constitutional settlement which secures its status as part of the UK.

"The UK government is fully behind the implementation of the Belfast Agreement and its successors, including Stormont House and Fresh Start. There will be no return to the borders of the past," said the UK government.

"We are also working intensively to ensure that following the forthcoming election, strong and stable devolved government that works for everyone is re-established in Northern Ireland."

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie went further, accusing Mr Adams of using "inflammatory" words.

Mr Adams addressed a conference on achieving a united Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

"The British government's intention to take the North out of the EU, despite the wish of the people there to remain, is a hostile action," he said.

"Not just because of the implications of a hard border on this island, but also because of its negative impact on the Good Friday Agreement.

"The British prime minister repeated her intention to bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court.

"Along with her commitment to remove Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights this stand threatens to undermine the fundamental human rights elements of the Good Friday Agreement."

Irish Independent

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