Congressman Joe Kennedy
By Irish Echo Staff
Congressman Joe Kennedy III, together with Congressman Richard Neal and Brendan Boyle, called on the leaders of the United Kingdom’s three major political parties to reaffirm their support for the Good Friday Agreement in advance of last week’s general election.
By Friday, that call was effectively specifically directed at the Conservative Party led by returning prime minister, Boris Johnson.
Joined by fellow Democrats Neal and Boyle, Kennedy wrote to the party leaders, including Johnson, urging continued commitment to an open Irish border and the continued implementation of the GFA.
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“Regardless of the electoral outcome on December 12 and the eventual framework, if any, of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, it is essential that the hard-won peace of the GFA be preserved and not undermined by any Brexit calculations,” the lawmakers stated.
“That peace includes not only an open border between the Republic of Ireland and the province of Northern Ireland but also commitments to improved protections of human, civil and democratic rights, and economic justice for all the communities of Northern Ireland as enshrined in the GFA.”
They continued: “The political uncertainties unleashed by Brexit have had a negative impact on all the communities of Northern Ireland. It has slowed essential new inward investment to a halt, ratcheted up sectarian tensions, and contributed to the ongoing stalemate over restoring self-government at Stormont.
“As leaders of the largest political parties in the United Kingdom, we urge you to take all and any steps in your power to ensure that peace prevails in Northern Ireland, including a continuing commitment to an open Irish border and the protection of human and civil rights for all.”
In October, Rep. Kennedy, who is mounting a Senate bid, co-authored an op/ed in the Boston Globe opposing a “No-Deal Brexit” with Congressman Neal, Congressman David Cicilline, and Congressman Bill Keating.
Earlier this year, he authored a letter with 23 of his colleagues to then Prime Minister Theresa May expressing concerns that any potential bilateral free trade agreement would be threatened if a hard border were re-imposed.
The latest letter follows the unanimous resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives in recent days reaffirming support for the GFA.
Members on both sides of the aisle have stated in recent months that a post Brexit U.S./UK trade deal trade deal is contingent on the preservation of the agreement, and the ensuring that there is no return of a hard border on the island of Ireland as a result of Brexit.