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Nationalists welcome Oireachtas Brexit report but unionists criticise Irish unity slant

The report called for clarity on whether Northern Ireland will remain eligible for EU structural funds after Brexit

AN oireachtas committee's recommendation that the Dublin government revive the New Ireland Forum has been welcomed by nationalists.

However, unionist reaction to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement's report was negative, while Alliance said it was "unhelpful" to link Brexit with discussions about achieving a united Ireland.

The cross-party committee was tasked with examining the impact of Brexit on Ireland.

Alongside the call to establish a 'New Ireland Forum 2' – a successor to the pre-peace process initiative of the 1980s – the report urges the Republic's government to seek to secure special status for the north within the EU.

It also calls for clarity on whether Northern Ireland will remain eligible for EU structural funds after Brexit and advocates a passport control-free border once the UK cuts ties with Brussels.

Sinn Féin's senator Niall Ó Donnghaile the report made a "compelling" case for setting up a committee solely to look at the issue of Irish unity.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said nationalism needed to look at ways which all traditions could be respected in a united Ireland.

But Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry said the report's remit should have separated the case for a special deal for Northern Ireland from the debate on Irish unity.

Ulster Unionist Steve Aiken described the report as a "united Ireland wish list dressed up as a Brexit report".

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