independent

Tuesday 19 February 2019

German MP's pledge on Backstop

Senior German minister pledges support for Brexit backstop

The German Federal Minister for Justice, Katarina Barley, Labour Party leader, Brendan Howlin and Senator Ged Nash meeting with Thomas McEvoy, LEO and Joan Martin, Chief Executive, Louth County Council in The Carrickdale Hotel
The German Federal Minister for Justice, Katarina Barley, Labour Party leader, Brendan Howlin and Senator Ged Nash meeting with Thomas McEvoy, LEO and Joan Martin, Chief Executive, Louth County Council in The Carrickdale Hotel

Olivia Ryan

One of the most senior members of the German Cabinet has pledged the ongoing support of the EU's most powerful State to the retention of the 'backstop' contained in the withdrawal agreement reached between the UK and EU Member States, including Ireland.

German Federal Minister for Justice, Katarina Barley vowed the support of her government during a visit to the border on Friday last

Louth Senator Ged Nash led the delegation meeting with the German Minister during her high profile visit.

'Katarina is a member of Labour's sister party, the German SPD. She contacted me to arrange this high level visit as she was anxious to see for herself what life is like in a border community, how life has changed for the better in recent years and precisely why businesses, workers and the local community in general need the protection that the backstop gives Ireland in the context of the UK's planned withdrawal from the EU.'

The visit saw the German Minister visit Flagstaff and journey along the narrow country roads that weave from north to south. Senator Nash pointed out: 'She could see for herself how the border effectively no longer exists thanks to the Good Friday Agreement and Ireland and the UK's joint membership of the EU, the single market and the Customs Union.'

The Minster also met with the local lobby group Border Communities Against Brexit, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, SIPTU, Louth County Council, the East Border Region Committee and the Centre for Cross Border Studies.

'All left the Minister under no illusions as to the importance of Germany and our other EU colleagues continuing support for the agreed backstop and for the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement,' he added. 'I was pleased to arrange this important visit and to see the German government recommit its support for the Irish position as we enter the Brexit endgame.'

Border Communities Against Brexit members who met with the Minister were Bernard Boyle, Paul Gibbons and Brian Cunningham. 'We welcomed the opportunity to discuss the serious Brexit situation with the German Justice Minister, to outline how vitally important it is that the deal which was agreed between the EU and Britain, containing the all important Backstop is not tinkered with. Minister Barley drove around the border area to see for herself that there is no border, and she firmly supports Ireland and the Backstop in these negotiation.'

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