Angela Merkel 'very moved' by testimony from delegation including Peter Sheridan and Tanya McCamphill

Former senior Derry policeman Peter Sheridan and 'Derry Girls Against Borders' founder Tanya McCamphill sit opposite the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Farmleigh House yesterday.
Former senior Derry policeman Peter Sheridan and 'Derry Girls Against Borders' founder Tanya McCamphill sit opposite the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Farmleigh House yesterday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she was 'moved' by talks with a delegation from the border region that included former senior Derry police officer Peter Sheridan in Dublin yesterday.

"I know what it means when walls fall, and borders vanish," said Mrs. Merkel, after meeting with the Cooperation Ireland Chief Executive who had been invited to Farmleigh House by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Tanya McCamphill, a Derry-native and founder of the 'Derry Girls Against Brexit' lobby group, was also in attendance.

The former Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader, who intends retiring from politics at the end of her current term as Chancellor, said she understood Ireland’s situation was unique among European Union (EU) Member States and needed to be protected amid the Brexit fall-out.

"There can be no doubt that it will be particularly badly affected by the UK’s withdrawal. The Good Friday Agreement absolutely must be upheld, and the integrity of the Single Market guaranteed," she declared.

Mrs. Merkel, who was born in the Federal Republic of Germany but moved to the German Democratic Republic as a young child at a time when her homeland was still divided by outside forces, said she had been "very moved" by her discussions with the Irish border delegation.

She said she understood their fears that a 'no-deal' Brexit could lead to the establishment of border controls and that violence could return to the area.

The Chancellor said their testimony would spur her on to seek "new ways of making continued peaceful coexistence possible".

Despite the unceasing vacillation on how to deliver Brexit in England, Mrs. Merkel, said she wanted to realise a good relationship with the United Kingdom in the years ahead.

"On the German side, and here we are in full agreement with Ireland, we want good, intensive relations," she stressed.