Tusk jpg 1

Stormont majority backs border Backstop

Donald Tusk


By Anthony Neeson

Against the backdrop of political chaos at Westminster there is still some semblance of political consideration in, of all places, Stormont.

And after due consideration, the majority of Stormont MLAs have backed the border Backstop.

That’s the message as 49 of the North’s 90 MLAs wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk backing the proposal which is envisaged to keep the border open in Ireland post-Brexit.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Those who signed the letter include MLAs from Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Alliance Party and the Greens.

No unionists signed the letter.

The letter states: “It is our view that a legally operable guarantee to protect the Good Friday Agreement, maintain north-south co-operation and preserve the all-island economy and to prevent a return to physical infrastructure on our border or physical checks at or near the border is necessary to preserve the progress that we have made.

“We trust that the approach adopted by the European Institutions to defend all that we have achieved will continue in the weeks ahead.”

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said Mr. Tusk had an obligation to listen to unionists.

“The Belfast Agreement was about balancing the views of unionists and nationalists yet these parties want to foist a deal on Northern Ireland which every unionist party opposes. So much for those parties’ commitments to a shared future.”

Meanwhile, the Irish government has welcomed the EU’s continued support for the Backstop, after the meeting between Donald Tusk and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the fringes of last weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France.

A spokesperson for Tánaiste Simon Coveney said: “Mr. Tusk set out once again the EU’s clear and consistent position which we share. The EU remains open to any ideas from the United Kingdom so long as they are compatible with the withdrawal agreement.”

Tánaiste Coveney has been on a tour of European capitals to shore up support for the Irish position as Brexit discussions are once more set to move up a gear ahead of the October 31 deadline.

Mr. Coveney has told businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, this as a new report has found that most businesses are largely unprepared for a no-deal crash out from the EU.