Calls to build bridges between TDs and British MPs over Brexit

Calls to build bridges between TDs and British MPs over Brexit
Joe McHugh.

More bridges need to built between Irish and UK politicians ahead of Brexit, a Fine Gael TD has said.

The Irish Government's chief whip said there are UK politicians who do not understand the implications of Brexit on the island of Ireland.

Joe McHugh also said he is prepared to represent the views of those in Northern Ireland who feel they have no voice in the Brexit debate because of the lack of government at Stormont.

Powersharing at Stormont collapsed in January after the late deputy first minister Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin resigned in a row over a botched green energy scheme.

Attempts to restore the executive have so far failed amid disagreement between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party on a number of key issues.

Mr McHugh said many people in the region feel they do not have a voice on Brexit in the absence of the political institutions.

"I am happy to continue to give those people - Irish citizens among them - a voice alongside citizens of this State and voice those concerns in London, Brussels and wherever else we need to go to do that," he added.

Referring to the Northern Ireland peace process, Mr McHugh said he was concerned that there are UK politicians who "don't understand the possible implications (of Brexit) for Ireland, who've never visited the island and have never spoken to someone from a border community".

He said there is a new generation of younger politicians in the UK who need to understand "that the peace process was hard won and we cannot throw it away".

However, he added: "There are senior politicians in all the main parties in Britain who have had their own input into the peace we enjoy today.

"Politicians I worked alongside in the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly know the intricacies of the peace process; they know the geography of the border and they know the politics and decisions needed to maintain and protect the process."

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