Sinn Féin hold Brexit protest on Strabane/Lifford border.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Sinn Féin hold Brexit protest on Strabane/Lifford border. thumbnail Members of Sinn Féin pictured at the Brexit protest on the border on Saturday.

SINN Féin has greeted Friday's news of a breakthrough over the Irish border with "caution".

The UK and Irish governments said the deal, which was required to allow for the EU and UK to pogress to the next round of the Brexit talks, will prevent a 'hard' border between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland as well as protecting the Peace Process.

On Monday, British Prime Minister, Theresa May, outlined to parliament the terms of the phase one agreement - which is expected to be approved by the other 27 EU leaders later this week.

She said it would see the UK pay a "fair" divorce bill, avoid a hard border and protect the rights of UK and EU ex-pat citizens.

But she warned that if the UK was not able to agree a withdrawal deal with the EU prior to its scheduled exit in March 2019 "this deal is off the table".

Earlier, the EU said that although the agreement was not strictly legally binding, the two sides had "shaken hands" on it with a "gentleman's agreement" between David Davis and Michel Barnier.

On Saturday morning, Tyrone and Done g al representatives of Sinn Féin went ahead with a planned protest on the Strabane / Lifford border.

A 'Go Slow' protest had been scheduled by the anti-Brexit campain group, Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB), on the M1 motorway but they cancelled owing to Friday's announcement.

The group said it wanted to examine in detail Friday's deal and that they would like to see advancement in other areas Sinn Féin's West Tyrone MP., Barry McElduff, speaking at the protest on Saturday said his party would be keeping a close eye on the continuing Brexit talks.

"Sinn Féin colleagues from Donegal and West Tyrone are protesting on the border between Strabane and Lifford.

'Cautious welcome' "People are saying that this deal is done and dusted but from Sinn Féin's point of view we give it a cautious welcome. The devil is in the detail.

"We will ensure to monitor the implementation of any deal."

He added: "Essentially what Sinn Féin is saying is that there will be no borders in Ireland; hard borders, soft borders - no borders of any kind."

Mr McElduff said the party's four MEPs have "done Trojan work" adding that he believed they had "put backbone into the Irish government's approach."

"We will maintain our vigilance and there will be no borders in Ireland of any kind."

Elsewhere, BCAB spokesperson, Declan Fearon, said: "There are significant wins in this document especially on EU citizens rights, the ongoing protections of the Good Friday Agreement and the regulatory alignment with EU rules and directives so we can continue to access vital EU markets and by definition avoid a hard border on the Island of Ireland.

"It was vital that the British agreed to abide by EU rules so inferior food and products would not be taken by the back door into the EU through the North; had this not been achieved we could well have seen the talks stop and a hard border would have been inevitable.

"It became crystal clear to us from our talks in Brussels that they would accept no less from the British and that was the main sticking point in us effectively getting a special status."


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