October 23, 2019
“Barnier confirms that EU will not accept Unionist veto” – Matt Carthy MEP

“Barnier confirms that EU will not accept Unionist veto” – Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has welcomed confirmation from European Commission Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, that the EU will not accept any further dilution to the agreement reached with the British government last week.

Mr. Barnier was responding to direct questions from Matt Carthy and his colleague Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson, during a dialogue with the Left political grouping in the European Parliament on Tuesday evening.

In response to issues raised by the Sinn Féin representatives Michel Barnier was unequivical, stating “There will be no veto – we will stay tough on that”.

This was just a short period before the House of Commons voted in favour of the withdrawal agreement but against the time-frame laid proposed by Boris Johnson.  It appears that the EU is now set to grant an extension of a further three months to the Brexit process.

Midlands North West MEP, Matt Carthy, said that this is the right move from an Irish point of view, saying “Prolonged uncertainty is always better than certain disaster.  And a no deal scenario would be certain disaster for Ireland and particularly the border region.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday in a European Parliament plenary debate in Strasbourg Matt Carthy told fellow MEPs that the border in Ireland is already too hard.

He said:

“The border has frustrated economic, social and political development in our country and it resulted in a conflict for which too many paid too high a price.

“The Good Friday Agreement and our shared membership of the EU have, together, been the instruments that have allowed us to undo some of the damages of partition over the past two decades.

“That is why Brexit has been such a dangerous development.  It has risked our peace process and our all-Ireland economy.

“Even the deal negotiated last week will create new problems relating to the border in Ireland.  We support it because it is better than the alternative.

“This deal cannot be further diluted.  There can be no veto, no opportunity for any one party to hold every business, every farm, every worker, every community across the island of Ireland to ransom.  To suggest that such a veto would represent ‘consent’ is absurd and is a ludicrous misreading of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Of course, the best way to protect our country from the dangers of Brexit is through Irish Unity.  The EU can play a role in supporting the peaceful, democratic pathway to that objective.  

“I hope this house is ready and willing to be part of the big constitutional conversation coming our way” he concluded.


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