FRESH warnings have been made about the impact of Brexit on the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has accused the British Government of playing fast and loose with the hard-won progress built since the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of the pact, she pointed out that Northern Ireland had not consented to Brexit

“The Good Friday Agreement is not a historic artefact,” she said. “It is not to be discarded by Tory Brexiteers or a minority in the leadership of unionism.

“It is an agreement endorsed by the vast majority of the people of Ireland. It remains the basis for resolving the current crisis.

“It lays the foundation of a new Ireland which we must build together.”

Her comments came as one of the Good Friday Agreement’s architects warned about the potential impact of Brexit on peace.

George Mitchell, former US special envoy to Northern Ireland and chair of the 1998 talks, urged UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to recognise what was at stake on negotiations regarding the border.

He said: “I hope they figure out a way to resolve it that maintains the border in the current status because that’s been an important factor in reducing the stereotyping or the demonisation that existed between Northern Ireland and Ireland before, when people who lived just a short distance from the border never crossed it.”

His comments came as former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said DUP chief Arlene Foster should have told her party to “back her or sack her” during the last round of powersharing talks. He said unionism in Northern Ireland today needed the kind of leadership that had led to the peace talks 20 years ago.

He compared that vision with the recent collapsed talks saying that Foster had actually secured a good deal but allowed a unionist “rump” to throw it out.

He said the same Adams said the same coterie that were currently causing problems within the DUP had ousted Foster’s predecessors, the late Rev Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson.

He added that unionist leaders privately accepted that laws regarding the Irish language and same sex marriages would have to be changed eventually to match rights that are recognised elsewhere in the UK.

Unionists, he maintained, had to be more strategic in their thinking and should aim to

make the union “a friendly place” if they believed in it as much as they claim.