Bradley to stress UK’s opposition to hard Irish border when in US

NI secretary visits Boston and Washington at ‘crucial time’ in efforts to restore powersharing

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley  will meet senior politicians on Capitol Hill who have a strong interest in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley will meet senior politicians on Capitol Hill who have a strong interest in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

 

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley will emphasise the UK government’s opposition to a hard Irish border after Brexit during a visit to the US this week.

Ms Bradley said she was visiting Boston and Washington to build relationships at a “crucial time” as efforts to restore powersharing continue.

The devolved Stormont institutions have been suspended since January 2017 when the then deputy first minister Martin McGuinness resigned amid tension between Sinn Féin and the DUP.

The UK government’s commitment to the Belfast Agreement and its successors remains steadfast 

Several attempts to resurrect the institutions have failed and Ms Bradley last week met the main Northern political parties to discuss starting a new round of talks.

“The people of Northern Ireland deserve locally elected, democratically accountable ministers to take important decisions on a wide range of issues,” she said. “That is my absolute priority and I am doing everything that I can to deliver devolved government as soon as possible.”

Government’s priorities

During her visit to the US, Ms Bradley will meet senior politicians on Capitol Hill who have a strong interest in Northern Ireland. She will hold bilateral meetings with officials from the White House and State Department and various members of the US Congress to update them on her government’s priorities in Northern Ireland.

“As secretary of state, I aim to build on and deepen the unique relationship with key partners in the United States in this 20th anniversary year of the Belfast Agreement,” she said.

“The UK government’s commitment to the Belfast Agreement and its successors remains steadfast and has been the bedrock of all that has been achieved over the past 20 years.

“Everything we do will have at its core the protection and implementation of the agreement as we leave the European Union.”

Ms Bradley will also meet the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Friends of Ireland Caucus to brief them on the work that she is doing to restore an executive and help deliver a Brexit deal that avoids a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and a border down the Irish Sea. – PA