McDonald to Juncker: Tories cannot be allowed to pressurise Ireland into accepting a calamitous Brexit deal

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today told EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that the Brexit negotiating policy of ‘Ireland first’ must be put forcibly to British Prime Minister Theresa May at the crucial EU Summit next week.

She said that it would be reckless to allow Brexit negotiations to progress to the next phase without workable solutions from the British Government to Irish national concerns.

Speaking in reply to Mr Juncker’s speech in the Dáil this afternoon, Ms McDonald said;

“President Juncker, I am happy to hear you reiterate a position and policy of Ireland first.

“However, I have to say to you that I met with the British Prime Minister yesterday and she sets out a policy of Ireland last if at all. The British tactic is to run down the clock, to delay and delay again.

“We are most disappointed that the Irish Question has not yet been answered. This is despite the fact we were assured there would be a solution in advance of agreeing the new relationship that Britain wants to foster with the European Union

“I think it is dangerous for us. It brings jeopardy to us if the British are allowed to go into the Council meeting at the end of the month, not provide workable solutions, and yet emerge with something of a diplomatic triumph – that they are allowed to move to next phase of the negotiations.

“I have shared that view very explicitly with our colleagues in government. I believe that at the Council meeting the British must be called out for their antics.

“The position of Ireland first must be explicitly stated to Mrs May.They cannot roll-in the Irish Question into their new relationship with the European Union in attempt to pressurise this country into accepting a bad and potentially calamitous deal for the island of Ireland.

“The upcoming Council meeting cannot be another exercise in kicking the can down the road. It is now crunch time.

“In the absence of the British demonstrating how they avoid a hard border, how they uphold the Good Friday Agreement, how they protect citizens rights, I think it is reckless to allow talks progress to the next phase.”