Mike Pence warns that any Brexit plan ‘must protect Northern Ireland peace deal'
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Mike Pence warns that any Brexit plan ‘must protect Northern Ireland peace deal'

MIKE PENCE has issued a message of support for Brexit, provided it “keeps the strong foundation forged by the Good Friday Agreement.”

The US vice president made the comment upon arrival in Ireland for a two-day visit which will see him meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins in Dublin.

Speaking upon arrival at Shannon Airport, Mr Pence said: "We will continue to work closely with our partners in Ireland and the United Kingdom to support a Brexit plan that encourages stability and also one that keeps the strong foundation forged by the Good Friday Agreement."

Both the British and Irish governments have pledged to uphold the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 which ended three decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

However, there are growing concerns that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence on the removal of the Irish backstop from any Brexit deal could destabilise the peace accord.

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Both Ireland and the EU are eager to keep the Irish backstop in place as part of any negotiated deal, thus ensuring a soft border remains between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

But Johnson has branded it “undemocratic” and is calling for its removal altogether, despite the fact leaked documents suggest most alternatives are viewed as unworkable.

Mr Pence has already met with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and the mayor of Clare.

He is travelling with his wife Karen, his sister and his mother and staying in in Doonbeg, County Clare, where US President Donald Trump owns a luxury golf resort and where some of Mr Pence’s distant Irish relatives live.