April 27, 2021
“Belfast-Brussels direct dialogue can help reduce tensions” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Belfast-Brussels direct dialogue can help reduce tensions” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP describes the protection of the North’s role in EU as vitally important

Speaking in the European Parliament today, Midlands Northwest MEP Chris MacManus called the Irish peace process “a European success story”. 

“The TCA protects the Good Friday Agreement by providing a special status for the North of Ireland, but there is a democratic deficit. Elected representatives in the North of Ireland have no role to play in shaping legislation that they will be bound by. The importance of this resolution is that it calls for a dialogue between the EU and political representatives and civil society in the North of Ireland. Such a dialogue can contribute to reducing tensions and allowing the people of the whole island to define their European future together.”

Speaking from Brussels immediately after his parliamentary address MacManus said, “The draft resolution on Brexit which will now be voted in the European Parliament is very much welcomed. It’s important for the Parliament to agree this new trade relationship and to demonstrate its strong commitment to the full and faithful implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Irish Protocol which Sinn Féin and The Left Group in the European Parliament played a central role in shaping.”

The Sinn Féin MEP also believes the draft resolution is proof that a strong Belfast/Brussels relationship is now developing, “The Protocol is evidence that the EU have listened to the voice of people in the north of Ireland and have made great concessions in order to protect the peace process and uphold the Good Friday Agreement. We have argued over the years that the voice of people in the north needs to continue to be heard in the implementation of the protocol and in the wider peace and political process.”

“Therefore, I am particularly pleased that the resolution incorporates our proposal for dialogue with political representatives and stakeholders in the North. This doesn’t fully address the democratic deficit, but it is an important gesture of openness on the side of the European Parliament.”

MacManus concluded, “I believe that a constructive meaningful dialogue between the European Parliament and the Northern Assembly will go some way to easing tensions. Of course, ultimately the border remains a point of tension while it exists, but progress like this is very helpful and it paves a way for the majority in the north who now see unity as their way back into the EU.” ENDS

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