Event Quotes

Senator George Mitchell - United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland (1995–2001)

"One of the benefits of the Good Friday Agreement was the opening of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. For the past twenty years thousands of people and large quantities of goods and services have crossed the border each day, generating economic growth and jobs on both sides. And the stereotyping, demonization and hostility that hampered both societies for decades have been dramatically reduced. Would the renewal of a hard border lead to a renewal of violence? No one can predict with certainty what will happen. But in Northern Ireland, as in every society, there are some who are ready and willing to use violence to achieve their objectives. They may be few in number, but with modern technology even a few can cause great harm, as we’ve seen repeatedly in my own country. It makes no sense to do anything that could increase the likelihood of violence. That is especially true in a society which has a relatively recent history of such violence."

The Rt Hon. Tony Blair MP - Prime Minister 1997 - 2007

"We've got to try and break the deadlock. We should do it in a way that makes it clear that this principle of safeguarding both the Good Friday Agreement and that border between north and south are fundamental to any deal that's done by the UK government."

Iar-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern - Taoiseach, Irish Prime Minister (1997 - 2007)

"Brexit in any scenario represents something that is highly disruptive to the continuing progress on the island either in economic terms or in terms of consolidating the gains of the Peace Process. A no-deal Brexit would be a disaster and would result in a long period of uncertainty where negotiations would be conducted against the background of recrimination and blame following a UK exit without a deal. I wish the conference well and hope that it can make a timely contribution to the current debate which appears unable to bridge the position between the UK Government and the European Union on the issue of the Border."

The Rt Hon Anna Soubry MP - Change UK – The Independent Group

"“The interests of our country and our constituents are more important than our party and we will continue to put both first and foremost. It’s why I will continue to fight for the people to have the final say on Brexit now we know what it looks like, with the option to remain a member of the EU ”"

Luisa Porritt MEP - Liberal Democrats

"Boris Johnson’s reckless intention to force Brexit at any cost upon the UK would cause untold damage in a whole range of areas, including by risking the peace secured through the Good Friday Agreement. I welcome this cross-party initiative brought by Naomi Long from our Northern Irish sister party Alliance. It is essential that we work together to shine a light on the critical challenges that Brexit raises and to defeat the Conservative Government’s disastrous no deal Brexit agenda."

Billy Kelleher MEP - Fianna Fáil

"The causes of Brexit have been long debated. What is now needed is a concerted effort by all sides to reduce the damage to communities or ideally stop Brexit from taking place in the first place. Those advocating for Brexit must be reminded that there is no form of Brexit that will ever be positive for the island of Ireland."

Jill Evans MEP - Plaid Cymru

"Plaid Cymru has been clear that the best way to avoid the certain catastrophe of a crash out, no deal Brexit is to put the whole thing back to the people in a confirmatory referendum. “But if the point comes when a general election happens before a referendum, Plaid Cymru, as Wales’ leading party of Remain, must be clear that a vote for us is a vote in favour of staying in the EU. A crash out Brexit would be a complete and utter disaster for Wales – decimating our agricultural industry and putting thousands of jobs at risk. We will not stand by and allow that to happen."

Gina Dowding MEP - Green Party of England and Wales

"Boris Johnson is putting us on a path to becoming a failed state in Europe. His Brexit policy threatens the very foundations of our democracy. Taking power away from elected MPs, away from civil servants and those upholding the rule of law. It is a disgrace. We have to continue making our voices heard in order to stop Boris Johnson’s unlawful pursuit of no deal, and protest in the streets if need be. No deal is not a done deal. We can still stop Brexit."

Ellie Chowns MEP - Green Party of England and Wales

"The evidence that Brexit will be deeply damaging to the UK is impossible to ignore. More than three years after the referendum we are still no closer to securing a deal that is as beneficial as our current membership of the EU – which is a progressive, democratic institution needed to tackle urgent global challenges. “Nobody voted for the Brexit the current government is pursuing. That is why I am campaigning to secure a People’s Vote so that people can have the final say – with the option to Remain."

Ciarán Cuffe MEP - Green Party

"There are no winners from Brexit, only losers, and nowhere is this clearer than on the island of Ireland. Huge amounts of time, energy and money have been devoted to disentangling the UK’s 40-year relationship with the EU, a relationship based on trust and cooperation. This has only served to endanger the peace process in Northern Ireland, strain British-Irish relations, and distract from the greatest threat humanity faces: climate change. Brexit has become an endless game of brinkmanship, but the Green Party, an all-island party, continues to hope that sense will prevail and that an agreement on the withdrawal agreement which retains the backstop will be reached. The backstop is a crucial insurance policy for people on both sides of the border that protects the peace process and peoples’ livelihoods. Green Party representatives Cllr Vincent P Martin and MLA Clare Bailey recently put forward a solution to the current impasse in the form of a ‘confirmatory vote’ for Northern Ireland. Given what is at stake, this is a sensible and democratic way of ensuring that the people of Northern Ireland have a say on their future."