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Brexit dominates speeches at Béal na Bláth

August 26th, 2017 2:20 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Young Fine Gael members pictured with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney at the annual Michael Collins commemoration in Béal na Bláth on Sunday last, where the oration was delivered by Mairead McGuinness, MEP, first vice-president of the European Parliament.

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IRELAND'S relationship with the UK will be more radically changed by Brexit than it was by the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, or the Treaty of the Declaration of the Republic in 1949, according to the European Parliament's vice-president, speaking in West Cork last weekend.

The comment came from MEP Mairead McGuinness, when she delivered her oration at Béal na Bláth on Sunday, to mark the 95th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins.

‘If the shape of Brexit is a hard one, then the separation will be more definite and absolute than anything envisaged by those involved in the foundation of the State, including Michael Collins,' she said.

On the UK proposals for a new future partnership with the EU, she said it was ‘more than the UK wanting to have its cake and eat it, it's an attempt to have its cake and eat ours.'

Ms McGuinness also said every time a British politician repeats their determination to leave the Customs Union, ‘another brick gets placed back in the border wall.'

‘The UK has the capacity to stop this unwelcome development by remaining, at the very least, in the Customs Union,' she said. She also addressed the issue of the re-unification of Ireland. ‘There are those who would use Brexit as a weapon to reunite our country. That is misguided. The path to reunification is already set out in the Good Friday Agreement.'

Meanwhile, it was a poignant day for Dermot Collins, chairman of the Béal na Bláth annual commemoration committee, who announced it would be his last year officiating.

‘With the 100th anniversary only five years away I felt it was the appropriate time to get someone else embedded before this milestone event,' added Dermot, who will remain on the committee.

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