Monday 20 November 2017

Government has been 'flat-footed' in response to Brexit - Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the British Conservative Party had no interest in Ireland. Pic Tom Burke
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the British Conservative Party had no interest in Ireland. Pic Tom Burke

The Dublin Government must work to ensure Northern Ireland can remain in the EU after the rest of Britain leaves, the Dáil has been told.

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the British Conservative Party had no interest in Ireland - North or South - when it came to "their shenanigans" over quitting the European Union.

"Taoiseach, you have been very flat-footed in your reaction to this," she said.

The Sinn Féin deputy leader said the British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech made it clear that she was not concerned about the return of a "hard border" - despite her earlier assurances.

Ms McDonald said the majority of people in the North voted for Remain. The North was a special case, not least because of the EU role supporting the peace process, and citizens in the North faced huge disruption from Britain exiting the EU.

The Taoiseach said he and other government members had engaged in a big series of meetings since the result of the Brexit referendum on June 23.

He said that the Belfast and Dublin Governments had agreed 10 separate actions in response to the referendum outcome.

Mr Kenny said that on November 2 next, all political parties and business and other organisations from North and South, were invited to a meeting in Dublin to discuss the implications of Britain leaving the EU. He described this as an "all-island conversation" - avoiding terminology which drew a negative reaction from the Democratic Unionist Party in July.

"You are wrong when you say it's a one-day conference. It's the first of a series of meetings which will deal with all these issues," he told Ms McDonald.

The Taoiseach said he had already briefed the opposition party leaders on Ireland's Brexit response and there would be further meetings. He said Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams had been complimentary about the prospect of his November 2 meeting in Dublin.

Online Editors

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