08:49 GMT10 May 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    In a crucial meeting, European leaders are expected to give Britain's Theresa May a tough reception, warning her to rally support at home or face being cut loose with a no deal in March. Sputnik spoke to the Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson about these talks.

    Sputnik: Since negotiations began its safe to say the Irish border has been the biggest problem to solve for Theresa May and her Conservative DUP government. Are we any closer creating a solution that works for both sides?

    Martina Anderson: Well, there was an agreement in December in the joined report. The British Prime Minister, not long did she agree in December, but she firmed that up on the 19th of March, when she sent a letter to Donald Tusk to say that she had made commitments that there would be no hardening of the border in Ireland, of the British border in Ireland. The backstop that will supposed to be agreed at the weekend and got pulled by Dominic Raab was to do what the British government had agreed, and therefore it is a parachute for the North of Ireland, because the British government is also a co-guarantor of the Good Friday agreement, and has said that it would uphold the Good Friday agreement in all of its parts. So, if, in case of there will not be a comprehensive trade agreement by 2020, then the backstop would come into place. So it’s only unless and until the future relationship was discussed and hopefully agreed. So this summit will make or break it, but it’s clear that little progress has been made. Michel Barnier was to report to the Council that decisive progress has been made, but the Tories are trying to renege on what they did agree in December and again in March.

    Tax haven
    © CC BY 2.0 / Trocaire / Campaigners at the IF campaign concert in Belfast Botanic Gardens
    Sputnik: On the subject of a backstop, this is something that the DUP has had a lot of influence, especially over Conservative Party, on. On that, the DUP led by Arlene Foster has had a worryingly big influence on the Brexit negotiations as a whole and the way in which Britain moves forwards with these talks. Martina, essentially, is the DUP holding Theresa May and moreover Conservative Party and also Brexit to ransom?

    Martina Anderson: The DUP never supported the Good Friday agreement in any of its parts, in fact, it was the only party in Ireland who encouraged people to vote overwhelmingly and there were supporters against it. But people voted overwhelmingly for the Good Friday agreement and Arlene Foster and the DUP have been doing everything to undermine it and to try to chain the North of Ireland to Britain in the process, because they have known and realized that not in one election but in two elections the inbuilt artificial majority in the North of Ireland has been the unionist majority, has been lost. There is no doubt that the DUP is putting pressure on the British government in this situation, but because the Conservatives are tearing themselves apart, and it’s equally as worrying: not alone do we have the DUP having the overall influence on the British government, but you also have 75 percent — we were told – in the last opinion poll of Conservatives saying that they would collapse a peace process for Brexit, now who would collapse peace? What right thinking sane individual would collapse peace? They are using Ireland as a punch bag.

    Sputnik: Okay, just to pick up on one of your earlier points that you said… there is an incentive or, from the Irish perspective at least, there is certainly the idea of collapsing of peace, you know. And this is something that no one wants, both in Ireland and also in Britain. And there seems to be a level of naivety and a lack of respect from many conservative MPs in understanding the very delicate political situation in Ireland. From an Irish perspective, in your view, has Britain been disrespectful to Ireland?

    Martina Anderson: Well, not alone has it been disrespectful with regards to Ireland, it has not honoured its international obligation. The peace process, the Good Friday agreement, was brought about because of multi-party talks, and the two governments have a treaty – the British government and the Irish government, they have a treaty where they pledged to uphold the Good Friday agreement and that treaty is lodged United Nations. Theresa May speaks words and she uses language that she would uphold the Good Friday agreement, and yet everything that she is doing is damaging the Good Friday agreement, because Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday agreement. A lot of work has went in to ensuring that we are where we are today and we have still a long way to go, and the Irish people are not going to tolerate a British government who are acting with total disregard, reckless and wrong.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


    Sinn Fein's Breakthrough Brings a United Ireland Closer Than It's Ever Been
    Sinn Fein Urges US Congress to Support N Ireland Remaining in EU After Brexit
    Northern Ireland Talks Have Ended in Failure - Sinn Fein
    Sinn Fein, Theresa May, England, Ireland, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion