Theresa May: NI a special and valued part of Union

Theresa May during her first visit to Scotland as Prime Minister earlier this month
Theresa May during her first visit to Scotland as Prime Minister earlier this month

The Prime Minister Theresa May has emphasised Northern Ireland’s “valued” place in the United Kingdom ahead of her first visit to the Province since taking up the role.

Her trip to Northern Ireland is taking place on Monday, and comes just 12 days after she was appointed to the post.

Officials announced on Sunday that she would be making the journey, and to coincide with her arrival, Mrs May issued a statement to the press.

It read: “I am delighted to be visiting Northern Ireland.

“I made clear when I became Prime Minister that I place particular value on the precious bonds between the nations of the United Kingdom.

“I want to assure the people of Northern Ireland that I will lead a Government which works for everyone across all parts of the United Kingdom, and that Northern Ireland is a special and valued part of that union.

“I look forward to underlining the Government’s commitment to the Belfast Agreement and its institutions, and to working with local parties and the Irish government to fully implement the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements.

“Peace and stability in Northern Ireland will always be of the highest priority for my Government.

“I have been clear that we will make a success of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

“That means it must work for Northern Ireland too, including in relation to the border with the Republic.

“We will engage with all of Northern Ireland’s political parties as we prepare for that negotiation.”

Her visit to Northern Ireland comes after she had made trips to Scotland (on July 15) and Wales (on July 18).

She will meet Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness in Belfast.

Her statement said that her government will be mindful of “the particular circumstances that affect Northern Ireland” when it comes to negotiating Britiain’s exit from the EU.

People going between Northern Ireland and the Republic have been able to move freely thanks to the common travel area (CTA).

The open borders agreement, set up in the 1920s, has been strengthened by both Britain and Ireland’s European membership.

However, questions and concerns have been raised about what this means for the CTA and for both economies in the wake of the UK’s Leave referendum result.

French president Francois Hollande has said the Irish border will be a special case in the Brexit negotiations.