DUBLIN (Reuters) - Northern Ireland’s largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party, on Wednesday called for a “refit” of the British province’s 1998 peace deal “to take account of any new Brexit deal.”
Arlene Foster, who made the call in a speech in Dublin, did not specify what changes would need to be made, but said they would allow a post-Brexit environment to be managed in a more “pro-active and democratic manner.”
“We want to see a refit of some of the structures of the Belfast Agreement to reflect the new emerging relationships – both between Northern Ireland and the Republic as well as between the United Kingdom and the Republic,” she said.
“Updated arrangements to take account of any new Brexit deal secured would allow the new environment to be managed in a pro-active and democratic manner,” she said.
The Democratic Unionist Party’s opposition to the so-called “backstop” mechanism to maintain a seamless Irish border after Britain exits the European Union has proven a formidable obstacle to clinching an EU-UK divorce deal.
DUP backing could prove decisive in securing parliamentary approval for any alternative arrangement, which would be needed to avoid a disorderly Brexit on Oct. 31.
Foster said in the speech that the DUP wanted to secure a deal.
Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Hugh Lawson