Northern Ireland news

Irish America 'building a green wall' to protect Good Friday Agreement

James Walsh said confirmation by the British government that its legislation would supersede the Northern Ireland Protocol was 'unhelpful'

IRISH America is "building a green wall" to protect the Good Friday Agreement in the event of the British government ditching the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The joint head of a bipartisan group of influential US experts whose aim is to safeguard the 1998 peace accord has also warned again that there will be "no chance of a UK/US trade deal" if the UK implements the contentious elements of its Internal Market Bill.

James Walsh, co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Protection of the Good Friday Agreement, was speaking after a briefing by Simon Coveney during the foreign affairs minister's two day visit to Washington DC earlier this week.

The Fine Gael deputy leader brought the committee up to speed on the EU's Brexit negotiations with Britain, stressing the Dublin government's opposition to any efforts to breach the Withdrawal Agreement.

Mr Walsh said confirmation by the British government that its legislation would supersede the Northern Ireland Protocol was "unhelpful and is close to an act of bad faith".

"The British government needs to show by its actions that it values the hard won Good Friday Agreement which it was a signatory and remains obligated to fully implement," he said.

The co-chair added that British actions had "led to a strong resurgence of interest among Irish Americans in the peace process" and that the Ad Hoc Committee had recruited many new members.

"Building a green wall to protect the GFA is something we know how to do," he said.

Fellow co-chair Bruce Morrison said the committee was encouraged by Mr Coveney's "optimistic tone" when talking about the prospects of a trade deal sufficient to alleviate any risk to protocol.

"We were even more encouraged that he was confident that even in the absence of a deal, the EU can be expected to enforce the protocol—a binding treaty under international law—and not be forced to defend the EU single market with any enforcement at the border on the island of Ireland," he said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news