Nothing has changed for the Irish Government’s Brexit strategy with Theresa May’s departure, Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond has said.
The Seanad spokesman for European Affairs said: “The European Council has made clear that the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, cannot be re-negotiated and that any unilateral commitments that the UK Government gives should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement.
“There should be no illusions in the UK that a change in political circumstances will convince the EU to make changes to the Withdrawal Agreement – it cannot be opened or renegotiated.
“The European Council has however also said that should the UK’s position on the EU-UK future relationship evolve, the EU is prepared to reconsider the Political Declaration on the future relationship.
“We remain firmly of the view that the best way to ensure an orderly withdrawal and fully protect the Good Friday Agreement is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement.”
Senator Richmond continued: “People have already voted in the European Elections across the United Kingdom including in Northern Ireland and it seems that in the United Kingdom the Brexit Party may win those elections.
“We may see a European Parliament that is very fragmented with forces from the far left and far right and populist forces too.
“With that in mind, and in the context of Brexit, it’s really important that today in Ireland, we send out a very clear message that we’re pro-European, that we want to stay at the heart of Europe and that we’re willing to send our best team to Europe.
“People who will be part of Team Ireland, who will make our case on Brexit, who will work across boundaries, who will build coalitions, who will work in the European Parliament to make sure that our case is heard as we enter the next phase of Brexit negotiations.
“The risk of a no deal Brexit has never been greater. We’ve been preparing for Brexit since before the referendum on same.
“I am proud to see how far our MEPs and Fine Gael have brought the country during this challenging time.
“Back us now as we enter the next critical stage on Brexit.”