US Congressman Brendan Boyle is leading the charge in Washington, DC against a hard border in Ireland after Brexit.
Boyle, an Irish American Democratic Congressman representing Pennsylvania’s 2nd district, introduced a resolution in Congress on Tuesday opposing a hard between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the wake of Brexit.
Boyle, whose father is from the Gaeltacht region in Donegal and maternal grandparents are from Co Sligo, sits on the Friends of Ireland caucus, which is co-chaired by Richard Neal who played a key role in the Good Friday Agreement.
Boyle’s resolution came the same day as the British Parliament’s vote to replace the backstop with some type of alternative arrangements.
In response to the vote, Irish Tanaiste Simon Coveney said: “We have seen no alternative arrangements that meet this essential threshold. And we need a backstop or insurance mechanism based on legal certainty, and not just wishful thinking.”
After agreeing to the Irish backstop, Theresa May’s government has now reneged on it. Why would anyone negotiate with her now? #Brexit— US Rep Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) January 29, 2019
In a statement issued on January 29, Boyle outlined his resolution: “One of the great foreign policy achievements of the 20th century was the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).”
“Brokered by US Special Envoy George Mitchell, and agreed to by the UK, Republic of Ireland, and leading parties in Northern Ireland, it eliminated the hard border that then existed between Northern Ireland the rest of Ireland. Now Brexit threatens this. “
“A hard border would eliminate the free flow of people between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which has proved fundamental to promoting peace and unity.”
“Given the United States is a close ally of both the UK and Republic of Ireland, and given the United States played a leading role in helping facilitate the GFA, it is now time for the United States Congress to make clear we stand in strong opposition to a hard border. We must not go backwards.”
The Irish Times reports that Boyle’s resolution has now been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Additionally, Tanaiste Simon Coveney will travel to Washington, DC next week to further discuss Brexit with US officials.
What do you think of Congressman Boyle's resolution? Let us know in the comments!