Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill and Foyle MLA Elisha McCallion pictured today with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the ceremony to confer an honorary degree on Congressman Richard Neal at Magee University in Derry.
By Irish Echo Staff
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the border today and stated,in the company of anti-Brexit local residents, that Brexit should be just an aberration in the bid to strengthen Northern Ireland’s peace process.
“We have said that we are guarantors for the Good Friday Agreement because we believe it is fair to both sides – that is why they agreed to it,” Pelosi said during her brief visit to a stretch of the border in County Donegal.
“We believe that Brexit should be just an aberration in this discussion as we continue to build and strengthen our peace that was generated by the Good Friday accord.”
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“We come here out of respect for the courage of those who participated in the Good Friday accord.”
Pelosi, both in London and Dublin during what is a visit this week of a congressional delegation, previously warned against any negative effects on the Good Friday Agreement and peace process as a result of Brexit.
She raised the possibility of difficulties for any future U.S./UK trade deal if Brexit causes serious issues for the peace process and what is currently an almost invisible border on the island of Ireland.
During the visit by the congressional delegation, one of its members, Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the Friends of Ireland in Congress, was presented with an honorary degree by Ulster University/Magee in Derry.
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill attended the ceremony.
She said: “It is very significant that the delegation is visiting Ireland this week to see and hear at first hand the impact Brexit uncertainty is already having on our people, businesses and peace.
O’Neill noted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had again “stated strongly and unequivocally her support for the Good Friday Agreement and for the protection of Irish interests in the face of Brexit.”
Added O’Neill: “I welcome the strength of support from the congressional delegation, including chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, Richie Neal, who we are honoring today in Derry.
“He and twenty two other members of Congress recently wrote to British Prime Minister Theresa May calling on her government to honor the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
“I welcome his (Neal’s) clear support and that of the delegation who have warned that any future free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Britain is not on the cards if there was a return to a hard border on our island.
“Successive U.S. administrations provided critical support to aid our peace process and in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement twenty one years ago.
“Those who seek to undermine our agreements, our peace and our rights would do well to take on board what the visiting Congressional delegation have so clearly stated during their time in Ireland this week.”