Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams is in Washington DC to attend an event this evening at which US Congressman Richie Neal will receive a Life Time Achievement Award from the Democratic Party.
The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will present the award.
Speaking this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, Deputy Adams said:
“No matter what the outcome is from the current negotiations and this week’s European Summit meeting, the issue of Brexit will continue to impact on Ireland and Britain for years to come.
“The backstop is about preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland. It is the least worst option.
“The fact is that if the North is taken out of the EU and the vote of the people of the North to remain is ignored then that will be bad for Ireland and for both economies on the island.
“It will also be bad for human and civil rights and for the Good Friday Agreement dispensation which these are at the heart of.
“I want to commend the approach of Speaker Pelosi and Congress leader Neal and their colleagues who have made clear their rejection of any measures which will adversely impact on the Good Friday Agreement.”
Commenting on the absence of an Executive and Assembly, Teachta Adams said:
“There have been no institutions in place for almost three years because of DUP opposition to the Good Friday Agreement’s rights agenda.
“We did have a deal with the DUP in 2018 but that party walked away from it.
“If the institutions are to be re-established on a durable basis, the issues of equality, rights, integrity and respect which caused the collapse of the Assembly must also be addressed and resolved.”
Finally Mr. Adams TD said:
“Political unionism has lost its electoral majority in four consecutive elections and successive opinion polls, including the exit poll in the wake of the Local Government and European elections in the South, show a majority of citizens across the island in support of Irish unity.
“The issue of a referendum on unity is now centre stage. The drivers for this are the demographic changes in the north, the politicisation of sections of the community there and the focus on rights which are being denied by a DUP led minority and Brexit.”