Prime Minister Theresa May will visit Northern Ireland on 25 July, Monday, to hold talks with First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, when she will promise to engage with the political leadership of the region for the complex negotiations that lie ahead of the UK as it gets ready to leave the European Union.

Speaking ahead of her visit to Belfast, she stated, United Kingdom's exit from the EU "must work for Northern Ireland" and that she viewed the region as a special and valued part of the UK. She elaborated that, "Peace and stability in Northern Ireland will always be of the highest priority for my government."

In a statement she said, "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."

She will also reassure Northern Ireland that border controls will not be imposed on people entering the UK from the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.

Sir John Major and Tony Blair travelled to Belfast a fortnight before the referendum to warn against Brexit, stating it would lead to border controls and customs checks. In the June referendum, Northern Ireland was one of the three regions, along with London and Scotland, to vote in favour of remaining in the European Union.

Due to Common Travel Area (CTA), British and Irish people, along with goods going between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have been able to travel freely with minimal identity documents.

However, just two days before the referendum, May said that it was inconceivable that there would be no hard border between the two countries in the event of a Brexit.

She told the BBC, "If we were out of the European Union with tariffs on exporting goods into the EU, there'd have to be something to recognise that between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"And if you pulled out of the EU and came out of free movement, then how could you have a situation where there was an open border with a country that was in the EU and had access to free movement?"

May has suggested that there could be a delay in Britain leaving the EU, as she will not trigger Article 50, the formal process of leaving the EU, until Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland agree.

Theresa May
The prime minister will visit Belfast to meet with the first and deputy first ministers [File Picture] REUTERS/Phil Noble