Richard Neal recalls bus being turned upside down by British Army on Derry/Donegal visit

Congressman Richard Neal recalled the bus in which he was travelling being turned upside down by the British Army when he visited Derry and Donegal in the late 1980s, in his address to Seanad Éireann last week.

By Kevin Mullan
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 6:30 pm

But he spoke of the progress of only now receiving a ping on his mobile phone on his most recent trips to the north west.

"I recall crossing that Border either in 1989 or 1990 with the then Speaker of the House, Tom Foley, from Donegal to Derry. Our bus was stopped by a British Army patrol and we were obliged to wait in the vehicle while it was subjected to a thorough search by armed soldiers with night vision equipment and heavy armaments," he said.

Mr. Neal told senators how things had improved dramatically when he visited Derry with the Democrat Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

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"I have far fonder memories of crossing that Border with Speaker Pelosi in 2019. When we moved across the border from Derry to Donegal and back again, to make the moment, our phones pinged. That tells the story. The contrast between then and now could not have been starker," he said.

The Chair of the US House Committee on Ways and Means has been one of the most vocal proponents of the view that the British Government must honour the Irish Protocol of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement it negotiated and signed with the European Union.

"No one wants to return to a time when a border control across the island divided its people. That is why the EU-UK protocol is so important and why its implementation needs to be the subject of a negotiated agreement and not unilateral action," he said.