Seanad debates

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union: Statements

 

10:30 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)

I have said on numerous occasions during this process that I regret that one of the consequences of the Brexit discussions has been a real straining in the relationship between unionism and the Government. We are anxious to try to repair that relationship. We also want to continue to maintain a strong relationship with nationalists in Northern Ireland and, indeed, all political parties there, including those that do not categorise themselves as nationalist or unionist. I have spent much time trying to do that and I will continue to do so.

Following the Brexit outcome, my biggest priority between now and when we have a general election in this country will be to try to work with my British counterparts and parties in Northern Ireland to repair relationships that have undoubtedly been damaged, particularly in the past year. Northern Ireland desperately needs its own government and it needs the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement functioning and working again. When people talk about trying to create some normality again in relationships North and South, they are effectively talking about getting the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement functioning to their full extent again. Everybody, nationalist, unionist or neither, benefits from that happening.

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