Bertie Ahern raises concerns about North being left in limbo amid border battle

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has raised concerns about the North being left in limbo without peace and infrastructure funds amid efforts to avoid a hard border.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern with local TD Pat "The Cope" Gallagher when he talked to the media at the MacGill Summer School. (North West Newspix)

Speaking in Donegal, at the MacGill Summer School this evening, Mr Ahern also suggested that Britain after Brexit would undermine its own market as a destination for Irish agri-food exports.

His remarks come as negotiations between the EU and Britain resume this week on attempts to agree a withdrawal deal and therefor avoid a cliff edge scenario for Brexit.

Mr Ahern, delivering the 18th Annual John Hume lecture in Glenties, said:

I would strongly urge the European Union to continue to support future peace programmes in Ireland, post the British departure from the European Union.

Discussing Brexit at the opening of MacGill this evening, the former Fianna Fáil leader said there was “no reason why the European Union cannot continue to support the peace process in Ireland within the changing new political architecture of the European Union.”

EU funding has helped government agencies in the North as well as public bodies, private sectors companies and the farming community there.

Under the Common Agricultural Policy 2014 – 2020, farmers in the North will receive in excess of €2.6bn in direct payments during this period. This accounts for 87% of total farm income in the North.

Mr Ahern added:

“In other words, how much money will the British government allocate post 2020 to substitute EU financed programmes that operate in Northern Ireland at this time?

This is a very serious issue indeed and all contracting parties need to sit down and assess how to move these matters forward in a positive and constructive manner.

 

By Juno McEnroe
Political Correspondent

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