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PM ‘playing chicken’ with Irish interests over Brexit, says Sinn Fein

UK News | Published:

Mary Lou McDonald insists a no-deal EU exit would trigger a poll on Irish unity.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of “playing a game of chicken” with Irish interests over Brexit.

Speaking after a meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Westminster, Ms McDonald insisted that a no-deal Brexit would trigger a border poll referendum on Irish unity.

Ms McDonald said: “We are very disheartened at the manner in which Mrs May, it seems to us, is playing down the clock.

“And therefore playing a game of chicken with Irish interests.

“We are here to say again that Ireland won’t be the collateral damage in a Tory Brexit.”

Tony Lloyd, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, left to right, Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald at a meeting in Westminster (@moneillsf handout/PA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, centre right, and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, right, at a meeting in Westminster (@moneillsf handout/PA)

“We have said to him that there is a backstop. It is the backstop. It is the only backstop that there is. And that it represents the bottom line for us.

“He has heard that message very, very clearly.

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“We have also set out for him that in the event of a crash, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, that the Irish question will loom even larger in British politics.

“Because in those circumstances there will be a democratic imperative to reach for the Good Friday Agreement and to trigger the referendum provision in that agreement and to put the issue of the border and Irish unity to the people.”

Asked if the Labour leader agreed with Sinn Fein’s stance on a border poll, Ms McDonald said: “He understands that clearly as does Mrs May, that I’m making statements of fact here.

“It is a fact that the Good Friday Agreement provides a mechanism for a democratic decision on the border and on Irish unity.”

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