Letter asks Varadkar to heed Brexit concerns of people in Northern Ireland

Citizens express fears around Brexit, lack of government at Stormont and denial of rights

One thousand Irish citizens from nationalist civic society have written to the Taoiseach to urge him to protect the interests and rights of the people of Northern Ireland.

In December 2017, over 200 individuals signed an open letter to Leo Varadkar to "give voice" to concerns around Brexit, the lack of government at Stormont and denial of rights.

With Brexit negotiations ongoing, the groups have come together again, this time over 1,000 people from business, arts, sports, cultural, community, education and other areas of life adding their names to a fresh letter.

The letter, sent to the Taoiseach on Friday, reminds him of the commitment he made last year to Irish citizens in the North: their interests would be protected; there would be no hard border as a result of Brexit; and they would “never be left behind again by an Irish Government”.


‘Political crisis’

Lawyer Niall Murphy, who is among the signatories, said: "As we approach a crucial deadline in Brexit talks, and continue to endure political crisis in the North and the denial of rights, we feel it essential to raise our voices publicly once more."

He added: “We collectively seek to give expression to a deep sense of fear in respect of the current Brexit negotiations. The fear that partition in our island will be deepened by a border, due to a constitutional crisis that no Irish person has sought to provoke.

“We urge the Taoiseach and the Irish Government to stand firm in these negotiations, to stand up for the Good Friday Agreement and a rights-based society and to ensure that rights enjoyed in Donegal will continue to be enjoyed in Derry and that a return to a border in Ireland will not be acceptable.”

Signatories to the letter included actor Adrian Dunbar, footballer James McClean, singer Frances Black, businessman Gareth Graham and musician Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan.