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9 September 2016

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Irish-America concerned over Brexit impact on North

John O'Dowd (fifth from left) meets members of the Congressional Friends of Ireland group: John Larson, Mike Doyle, Brendan Boyle, Richard Neal, John O'Dowd, Mike Capuano and Tim Murphy

THE British government should listen to the views of Irish-America and respect the vote of the majority of people in the North to remain in the European Union, Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd MLA has said.

The Sinn Féin's national spokesperson on Brexit visited the US this week and met with leading political figures, as well as representatives of Irish-America in Washington and Philadelphia to discuss the impact of the recent referendum.

During the visit, Mr O'Dowd met with senior Irish-American political figures from the Congressional Friends of Ireland group on Capitol Hill.

The Upper Bann MLA said there is concern in the US over Brexit's impact in Ireland:

"There is serious concern in Irish-America about the prospect of the people of the North being dragged out of the EU against their wishes, which were democratically expressed in the referendum.

"I met with Richard Neal, chair of the Congressional Friends of Ireland group, and he was clear that the vote of the North should be respected," he said.

John O'Dowd also travelled to Philadelphia to meet with academics from Penn State University and representatives of the city's Irish community.

The British government's Secretary of State James Brokenshire was also in the US during John O'Dowd's visit and the Sinn Féin Brexit spokesperson said he should listen to the voice of Irish-America:

"No doubt he will have heard the same message that I did – that the 'Remain' vote of the people of the North must be respected.

"He and his government need to listen to that loud and clear voice from those in America who have been engaged in the Irish peace process from the beginning and realise that 'Remain' must mean remain."

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