Sinn Fein MPs in Dail ‘historically significant’

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion (on right) and MEP Martina Anderson at yesterdays sitting in Dail Eireann.
Foyle MP Elisha McCallion (on right) and MEP Martina Anderson at yesterdays sitting in Dail Eireann.

Elisha McCallion said the presence of Sinn Féin MPs in Dáil Éireann for an address by the EU Parliament’s Brexit negotiator was of ‘historic significance.’

The Foyle MP was speaking following a joint sitting of the Good Friday Implementation Committee, alongside the committees for European Union Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence, in Dublin yesterday.

Sinn Féin MPs sat in the Dail Eireann debating chamber alongside their all-island team of TDs, MEPs and Senators to hear Guy Verhofstadt insist the British Government’s proposals for the Irish border were not possible.

He also said protection of the Good Friday Agreement had not been sufficiently considered in Britain.

Elisha McCallion told the ‘Journal’: “I was pleased to be in the Dáil Chamber for this important engagement. It is important that all EU officials are continuously briefed and informed on what Ireland needs from the Brexit negotiations. These needs must be a priority, given Ireland’s unique position.

“The joint committee meeting was of historic significance and indicates the strength of the all-Ireland campaign against Brexit and the imposition of an EU frontier on this island.

“The British Tory government cares nothing about the impact of Brexit on Ireland, but Sinn Féin MPs will continue to make representations where it counts - in Dublin, Belfast and in Brussels. This is what Sinn Féin MPs were elected to do.”

However, the Foyle MP said she was disappointed that MPs and MEPs were denied speaking rights during the Dail hearing.

“The decision to deny speaking rights to Irish MPs flies in the face of the need for an all-Ireland approach to Brexit,” she maintained.

She described earlier talks with Mr Verhofstadt as very positive and productive.

“We discussed the challenges posed by Brexit to all the people of the island.

“We stressed Sinn Féin’s position that it is an absolute imperative that the North is given Designated Special Status within the European Union.

“This is crucial in order to defend the political, social and economic interests of all Ireland and to protect the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts.”