Date
18 October 2017
Theresa May is traveling to Belfast to tell the Northern Irish first minister and deputy first minister that her government will engage fully with them in the wake of Brexit. Photo: Reuters
Theresa May is traveling to Belfast to tell the Northern Irish first minister and deputy first minister that her government will engage fully with them in the wake of Brexit. Photo: Reuters

Theresa May to assure Northern Ireland on Brexit talks

Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to underline her commitment to consulting with Northern Ireland in talks over Britain’s exit from the European Union.

May is traveling to Belfast to tell the Northern Irish first minister and deputy first minister that her government will engage fully with them, Reuters reports.

Britain’s vote last month to leave the EU has complicated London’s relationship with devolved administrations in Belfast and Edinburgh.

People in Northern Ireland and Scotland largely voted for Britain to remain in the EU, unlike those in England and Wales.

“I have been clear that we will make a success of the UK’s departure from the European Union,” May said ahead of the visit.

“That means it must work for Northern Ireland too, including in relation to the border with the [Irish] Republic. We will engage with all of Northern Ireland’s political parties as we prepare for that negotiation.”

Britain’s exit from the EU could have significant implications for Northern Ireland, including for the fragile peace that has held there since a 1998 settlement between the region’s warring factions ended decades of political violence.

The accord, known as the Good Friday Agreement, was underpinned by the UK’s and Ireland’s obligations as signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Brexit could also have economic repercussions for the region, which is the only part of the UK that borders an EU country.

Northern Ireland’s economy depends on trade with Ireland and it receives more EU funding per person than any other UK region.

A 2014 referendum on whether Scotland should leave the UK failed.

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RA

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