Thursday, 23 May, 2019

USA delegation visiting the Derry-Donegal border area this morning

Anti-Brexit campaigners stage protest during Pelosi visit to Derry-Donegal border crossing No UK-US trade deal if Brexit risks Good Friday agreement, Pelosi tells Irish lawmakers
Patty Aguilar | 20 April, 2019, 15:53

"I welcome his (Neal's) clear support and that of the delegation who have warned that any future free-trade agreement between the US and Britain is not on the cards if there was a return to a hard border on our island".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the border today and stated, in the company of anti-Brexit local residents, that Brexit should be just an aberration in the bid to strengthen Northern Ireland's peace process.

"Don't even think about that, " Pelosi said she had warned.

He also said he hoped it would be possible to find a solution for the thousands of undocumented Irish living in the U.S. and those who are in a similar position who come from other countries.

Pelosi did not have to remind her hosts that the Trump administration can negotiate treaties and trade deals.

The senior Democrat walked across the border into the Republic near Bridgened in Co Donegal, along with Congressman Richard Neal and Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor John Boyle.

"The Good Friday Agreement was made possible by Americans of good faith and they helped pave the way for prosperity and gave young people their own future".

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In the 30 years prior the signing of the agreement, clashes that were known simply as the Troubles, took the lives of more than 3,600 people. "This isn't for us an issue or an agreement".

She and a delegation of US politicians will also visit the Ulster University's Magee campus in Derry on Thursday where Richie Neal, a MA congressman, will be awarded an honorary degree for his contribution to US-Ireland relations.

Both the European Union and the United Kingdom have vowed that the UK's exit from the European Union would not result in a hard border in Ireland over fears it would endanger the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which put an end to three decades of deadly sectarian violence. But Brexiteers in her party and government have balked, arguing that the backstop could shackle Britain to the EU's rules, perhaps forever.

But the British propensity to split the country in half over the issue of Brexit, and then to refuse to find cohesive and proper leadership, has made for unusual times.

Ms Pelosi was expected to meet Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and it is understood Brexit will be one of the main topics of discussion.

Pelosi's comments are likely to annoy members of the ruling Conservative party who insist that a hard Brexit - which include the United Kingdom leaving the bloc's single market and customs union - is necessary in order for the country to strike trade agreements with third countries. The arduous process that led to its signing was chaired by former USA senator George Mitchell.

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