Nancy Pelosi warns against weakening Good Friday Agreement

Nancy Pelosi addressing the Dáil yesterday

US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Brexit must not result in the return of a hard border.

The senior Democrat, who is the third most powerful politician in the United States after the president and vice-president, made the remarks in a speech in the Dáil yesterday as part of its centenary commemorations.

TDs, senators and former politicians - as well as U2 singer Bono - were in attendance to hear Ms Pelosi's address.

She is expected to visit Northern Ireland today.

Ms Pelosi said that Brexit must not undermine or challenge the Good Friday Agreement or allow the return of a hard border.

She added that politicians in the US stand with Ireland as it faces challenges posed by Brexit - and issued a warning to the UK of future trade deals.

"We must ensure nothing happens in the Brexit discussion that threatens the Good Friday accord," she said.

"If the Brexit deal undermines the accord there will be no chance of a US-UK trade agreement."

Ms Pelosi is part of a delegation of high-ranking US politicians on a two-day fact-finding mission to the country.

Ms Pelosi said two decades of peace cannot be jeopardised by the Brexit process.

"We treasure the Good Friday accord because it is not just a treaty, it is an ethic, it is a value, it is an article of faith for us, it is a beacon to the world," she said.

Ms Pelosi also attended a dinner last night in Dublin Castle hosted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with guests including Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Mr Varadkar said that Ireland will do everything it can to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"Last week in Brussels we agreed to give the UK more time to ratify the (Withdrawal) Agreement and when that is done we look forward to securing a partnership with the UK.

"We want it to be as close as it can possibly be."

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