“This is about protecting the peace process, honouring the Good Friday Agreement and safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of people on both sides of the border. Anything that threatens these cannot be countenanced.”

The Social Democrats today called on the government to stand firm on the need for a legally binding agreement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Speaking following last night’s Westminster vote for the ‘backstop’ to be removed and replaced with ‘alternative arrangements’ to avoid a hard border, the party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:

“It is clear that the British Government has decided the Irish peace process is necessary collateral damage to achieving their Brexit. It is important to remember the DUP actively campaigned to reject the Good Friday Agreement in the referendum in 1998, and they would welcome the full collapse of that Agreement.

“The Irish government must be steadfast in its resolve that nothing can dilute the legal certainty of the ‘backstop’ agreement. This was agreed by the UK government and the EU after 18 months of discussion – and it is a vital insurance policy to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

“Any and all efforts to undermine the legal certainty of the backstop agreement must be firmly rebuffed by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. While we hope the backstop will never need to be used, it is crucial to ensuring an open border on the island.

“This is about protecting the peace process, honouring the Good Friday Agreement and safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of people on both sides of the border. Anything that threatens these cannot be countenanced.”

ENDS

30th January 2019