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Pelosi arrives in Ireland following UK-US Brexit trade deal warning

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Dublin late on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Following her stark warning on the terms of a US–UK trade deal, US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi will on Tuesday begin a two-day visit to Dublin as part of a Brexit-related mission to Europe.

Pelosi is leading a congressional delegation that is seeking to understand the future of the relationship between Ireland and the UK in light of Brexit.

The future of the Northern Ireland border will be a particular focus, with Pelosi seeking to express “America’s commitment to a peaceful and prosperous future” for all those who live in the two countries.

On Monday, Pelosi warned at the London School of Economics that there would be no US–UK trade deal if the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ushered in 20 years of relative peace and stability in Northern Ireland, was weakened.

She said that she had made it “clear” both to prime minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that “any harm to the Good Friday accords” would mean “no trade treaty.”

In the 30 years before the signing of the agreement, clashes — known simply as the Troubles — took the lives of more than 3,600 people.

The high-ranking group of US politicians will meet Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar on Tuesday afternoon, while Pelosi will speak to Irish parliament and meet the Irish president on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Pelosi and the delegation — which includes members of the Friends of Ireland caucus — will be honoured at a dinner in Dublin Castle, the former seat of British power in the country.

Irish-American congressman Richard Neal, the chairman of the US House Ways and Means Committee which will play a key role in any potential trade deal with the US, has previously warned that a hard border on the island of Ireland would hamper such a deal with the UK.

Neal is part of the delegation visiting Ireland.