Ireland will be hugely damaged if UK crashes out of EU - SF

DUP and Arlene Foster ‘determined to wreck Belfast Agreement’

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has warned of a no-deal Brexit. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Ireland will be hugely damaged if the UK crashes out of the EU, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson warns.

Although Irish and British officials say they have no intention of recreating a hard Border in the event of a no-deal, she said that “everyone knows that would result in a hardening of the Border”.

Speaking at the European Council summit and meeting of European leaders in Brussels, Ms Anderson said Northern Ireland needs to be given a "special status" to remain in the EU

Ms Anderson was at the summit, she said, to brief international journalists on the importance of the Belfast Agreement. Perceptions of the agreement internationally did not reflect its importance, she said.


“It’s far more than the handshake that some see it as”.

She was particularly critical of the failure of the British Government to incorporate the European Charter of Fundamental Rights in the North and said that what was key was that Northern Ireland citizens who could retain their European citizenship could "enjoy our rights where we reside."

She attacked the DUP and its leader Arlene Foster over what she said was their determination to "wreck" the Belfast Agreement and "they know that a no-deal will result in a harder border."

"The people of Northern Ireland support the backstop", she said. Interviewed by BBC Northern Ireland, DUP MEP Diana Dodds said of the suggested extension to the UK's transition from the EU, that it was simply based on the idea of convincing people that "the backstop will never be implemented". But the retention of the backstop was "simply not acceptable."

Patrick Smyth

Patrick Smyth

Patrick Smyth is former Europe editor of The Irish Times