Fine Gael’s Neale Richmond has called on the UK Government to clarify today’s statement in the House of Commons by the Northern Ireland Secretary that the UK intends to breach international law.
“Today’s announcement is truly an astonishing pivot. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, casually declared the UK intends to break international law in a very specific and limited way.
“The UK Government must clarify this immediately – do they intend to proceed in this manner?
“Is it OK if someone steals a car or robs a bank in a very specific and limited way? No, it is not,” the Dublin-Rathdown TD said.
“The UK Government has very clear responsibilities to the Withdrawal Agreement that is less than a year old. It was this UK Government that negotiated, accepted and ratified the Withdrawal Agreement. Their responsibilities are clear.
“International agreements or treaties cannot be overridden by domestic legislation and this answer by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is at best worrying and cannot go unchallenged. We need immediate clarity on this.
“We in Ireland must stand with our EU colleagues and our Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in ensuring that the UK Government fulfils their responsibilities to the Withdrawal Agreement and in turn the protection of peace on this island that it was designed to safeguard.
“Does the UK Government intend to break part of a Treaty it negotiated and voted for. Specific and limited doesn’t matter. You respect international treaties or not. By the basis of this announcement, it does not do such a thing,” Deputy Richmond asked.