Pelosi to visit 'seamless' Northern Ireland border

Karen Wheeler is director general of the Border Delivery Group

Karen Wheeler is director general of the Border Delivery Group

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi told Irish parliament on Wednesday that the United States Congress stands with Ireland as it faces the challenges posed by Brexit, and warned that the "seamless border" in Northern Ireland must remain. "They were really condescending to the group, repeatedly saying the issue had been "concocted" by Remainers, Brussels, and Leo Varadkar, and essentially that they were unwitting dupes".

Mrs Pelosi told the Dáil (Irish parliament) on Wednesday that the Good Friday Agreement is a "beacon to the world".

Speaking on Thursday, she added: "We believe that Brexit should be just an aberration in this discussion as we continue to build and strengthen our peace that was generated by the Good Friday accord".

'We treasure the Good Friday accord because of what it says is possible for the entire world and the reason to hope that in every place the dreams of reconciliation is possible for them too.

How to keep EU-member Ireland's 500km (350 mile) border with Northern Ireland open after Brexit is proving the most intractable issue in Britain's tortuous efforts to leave the EU.

Pelosi explained this week that the United States had a "vested" interest in the Good Friday Agreement.

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Dermot O'Hara, a spokesman for Border Communities Against Brexit, greeted her at the frontier.

Reaffirming a message of US solidarity with Ireland first delivered in a speech on Monday in London, Pelosi said it was vital to keep a "seamless border" between the Irish Republic and British-ruled Northern Ireland after the United Kingdom exits the European Union.

The senior Democrat walked across the border into the Republic near Bridgened in Co Donegal, along with Congressman Richard Neal and Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor John Boyle.

'However, a number of the delegation had clearly visited the province prior to 1998 and made constant references to a hard border, including some cases of barbed wire and watchtowers.

He said a hard border would be difficult to deal with psychologically, adding: "Many of us going back generations remember what a hard security border looked like here".

Nancy Pelosi - the third most powerful person in the US Government - scolded Mark Francois, a member of the European Research Group, during private talks this week. "We can not jeopardise that".

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