Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.39 7 Feb 2019


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A hard Irish border after Brexit could hurt any potential trade deal between the United States and the UK, members of the US Congress have warned.

Congressman Richard Neal, who is responsible for trade, has been hosting Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

With Democrats now controlling the Congress, many Irish-Americans have said any Brexit deal that undermines peace could have economic consequences for Britain.

Democratic Congressman Brendan Boyle said: "I think it would incredibly naive for anyone to think that there would be no impact if there was in any way backsliding from the Good Friday Agreement".

"Just as the United States was pivotal in the 1990s, we're prepared again to make sure that we preserve the peace that has been achieved on the island of Ireland".

Brendan Boyle speaks during a non-partisan rally protesting the US government shutdown at Independence Mall, in Philadelphia | Image: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

As part of his visit, the Tánaiste launched the Government's new strategy for the US and Canada for the period to 2025.

It will see Ireland doubling its impact in both the US and Canada, through investment and engagement.

Commenting on strategy, Mr Coveney said: "I and my Government colleagues are determined to protect, invest in and develop Ireland's relationship with the US and with Canada for the future.

"We want these relationships to thrive for the benefit of all of our citizens.

"What’s envisaged in this strategy is nothing less than a step-change in our engagement; and an engagement commensurate with the importance of the relationships, taking account of new geopolitical realities and demographic change.

"An unprecedented level of investment in our presence and capacity across the US and Canada will enable us to build new partnerships, at every level, and in every region.

"We will devote new energy to our thriving reciprocal economic relationships, currently responsible for the direct employment of well over a quarter of a million of our citizens.

"Moreover, we will connect with new generations, across communities of Irish heritage and none, to ensure these age-old transatlantic relationships develop and evolve for the future."

Mr Coveney is in the US to meet the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Irish-American groups.

He is also joining many of his EU counterparts, and representatives of over 70 countries, in attending a ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, of which Ireland is a member.

He is also travelling to New York, to undertake engagements in support of Ireland's campaign for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.


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