Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament candidate for Midlands North-West, Brendan Smith TD, has said it is vital that the Good Friday Agreement is protected and maximised to its full potential.

Deputy Smith said, “The Good Friday Agreement is the most important and significant political accord of the past quarter century, not just on these islands but across the whole of Europe. This is despite the careless comments from some politicians in Westminster who have taken peace on our island for granted.

“The absence of the Northern Ireland Institutions, thanks to the partisan intransigence of the two main parties in the North, is hurting people across both communities. A recent Irish Times poll found that 79% of adults in Northern Ireland want a return of the Assembly, irrespective of whether the two main parties sort out their differences.

“The Good Friday Agreement has brought great benefits to all of this island and we need to maximise its potential for the benefit of everyone in this country and for Irish/British relations.

“Yesterday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told members of the outgoing European Parliament in Strasbourg that the Good Friday Agreement will continue to apply in all Brexit scenarios and stressed that the UK is expected to uphold it in spirit and in letter.

“This will be a priority issue for me in Brussels if fortunate to be elected to the European Parliament. This commitment from Europe is welcome, but we will need, in this region, to ensure that it is honoured in full and without delay,” concluded Deputy Smith.