Brexit: “Strong-man politics ignores real lives”- Fitzgerald
Fine Gael MEP, Frances Fitzgerald has strongly defended the inclusion of the ‘backstop’ in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The former Cabinet Minister and Tánaiste addressed MEPs during a heated-debate on the matter in Strasbourg this morning.
“As somebody who was part of the Irish Cabinet throughout much of the Brexit negotiations, I can categorically say that the backstop is the only solution to date on the table that avoids any physical infrastructure and related checks and controls, fully protects the Good Friday Agreement and North-South cooperation, and preserves the all-island economy, as well as the integrity of the EU Single Market and Ireland’s place in it.
“The current uncertainty, upon which this debate is focused, has stemmed from a reckless disregard during the Brexit Referendum: the status of Northern Ireland.
“Beneath the sound-bites and strong-man politics, there are real people whose livelihoods, businesses and indeed safety is at risk - as well as the peace upon which these were built. We cannot forget what others are choosing to ignore.
On the EU’s approach to the ongoing dialogue, MEP Fitzgerald said: “The European Union has been clear from day one that it is determined to do all it can, deal or no deal, to avoid the need for border and to protect the peace process. Any additional ideas put forward by the United Kingdom will be strongly welcomed and examined by the Commission - however, this European Parliament has made it clear that it will not consent to any Agreement which does not include the ‘backstop.’”