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The Co-Presidents of The Left in the European Parliament – Manon Aubry and Martin Schirdewan – today met with the leadership of Sinn Féin. The discussion covered the importance of cooperation between progressive and left forces across Europe, the growing support for Irish unity, and the possibility of Sinn Féin in government in the North and South of Ireland.

In response to the British government threat to trigger Article 16 of the Irish Protocol, Martin Schirdewan said:

“It is clear that this British government is not acting in good faith. In ratifying the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the European Parliament was very clear that it was conditional on the full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Irish Protocol. 

“The British government has shown little genuine interest in the peace process, or in finding a way forward on the Protocol, which is in the interests of the people in the North of Ireland. Instead it appears to be trying to turn back the clock to before the Good Friday Agreement.

“The Good Friday Agreement and the ongoing debate about a new and united Ireland is not just an issue for Ireland, it involves the whole EU. We look forward to a broad engagement on Irish unity in the time ahead.”

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said:

“Throughout the Brexit negotiations The Left group played an important role in raising awareness of the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement within the EU institutions. We welcome their continuing support to ensure that there is no going back on the commitments made to the people of the North contained in the Protocol.

“A new and united Ireland within the EU will be in a good position to provide leadership in moving the EU in a more social, more democratic and more environmental direction, as well as in building a new relationship with Britain.”

Manon Aubry said that Sinn Féin was “a source of inspiration for the Left across Europe.”

“Our group stands ready to support Sinn Féin in their efforts to lead government and deliver a progressive change in Ireland. This will be an important step towards building a Europe focused on the needs of people and the planet.”

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