Speaking as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited to Dublin to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mr Eastwood said that the best way to prevent the British Government’s attempt to withdraw devolved powers is to reach a local resolution and restore powersharing.
Said the Foyle MLA: “It says all you need to know about Boris Johnson’s priorities as Prime Minister that it took him this long to visit Dublin and hold a face to face meeting with the Taoiseach.
“I have no doubt that the Taoiseach will again emphasise the importance of the backstop as this island’s ultimate guarantee that there will be no hard border disrupting business, communities and the free movement of people.
“In the days after the 2016 referendum, the SDLP was clear that we don’t want any borders here but if the British Government pursues its policy of borderism, it would have to be down the Irish Sea.
“It is important that Boris Johnson is also told that, in the absence of devolved government and with a no-deal Brexit drawing closer, any move to implement direct rule by this Tory/DUP government would be unacceptable.
“The Irish Government is a co-guarantor of our agreements, the only mechanism that can reflect both traditions on this island in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement is a form of joint authority or administration with a structured role for Dublin.
“We will not allow hard brexiteers to snatch powers from the North and exercise them to deliver a Brexit that is opposed by people here.
“The one guaranteed way to defeat Direct Rule is for local parties to reach a resolution with each other.
“We have undertaken significant work with the Ulster Unionists and the Alliance Party but we can’t do it alone.
“The DUP and Sinn Féin need to reconcile their challenges and play their part in the restoration of the institutions. We have it in our power to take back control and defend the interests of the people we represent,” added Mr Eastwood.