Barristers welcome Friday’s Brexit agreement

The chiefs of The Bar of Ireland and The Bar of Northern Ireland have welcomed Friday’s Brexit agreement between the UK and EU.

In a statement, chairpersons Paul McGarry SC and Liam McCollum QC said they welcomed “the recognition and protection afforded to the relevant key legal provisions”.

The statement continued: “Both The Bar of Northern Ireland and The Bar of Ireland have been keenly awaiting clarification on the status of the various legal issues that arise from Brexit including the legal status of the Good Friday Agreement, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the movement of people, goods and services following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

“While acknowledging that a significant level of detail remains to be developed, the clarity provided by [Friday’s] agreement will enable both Bars to focus more clearly on the issues affecting the legal and justice sectors in each jurisdiction.

“Fundamentally it will assist in the provision of meaningful advice and assistance to clients of both Bars who will be seeking guidance on the implications for their business, civic and personal interests.”

Meanwhile, a letter sent by leading nationalists in Northern Ireland to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has acknowledged Friday’s agreement, but warned that Brexit will still push the island “into uncharted territory with huge uncertainty for business and the economy”.

The letter states: “We appeal urgently to you, Taoiseach, and to the Irish government, to reassure us of your commitment to stand for equality and a human rights based society and your determination to secure and protect the rights of all citizens in the north of Ireland.”

The list of signatories, published by The Irish News, includes 40 prominent lawyers such as Brian McCartney QC and solicitors Kevin Winters, Peter Madden and John Finucane.