American author and playwright Bonnie Greer has said that she was "very surprised" and "grateful" following the reaction to her defence of Ireland during a BBC television debate.

It came after she appeared on a panel discussing Brexit last night where she said that Ireland owes the UK "nothing".

She also warned that no trade deal will ever be agreed with the United States if it "shafts Ireland".

She also pointed out that the Good Friday Agreement is "a truce" that was agreed between the UK, Ireland, US and European Union and she said it needs to be taken more seriously.

Ms Greer, who writes for The New European newspaper, is from Chicago but has lived in the UK for over 30 years.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Ms Greer said that she has been receiving messages from Australia and California, with people saying 'thank you for standing up for Ireland’.

"I didn’t know that I was, I just thought that this was common sense," she said.

Ms Greer said she thought that a lot of British people who responded to her following her comments did not understand that the Good Friday Agreement was a "truce".

"They don't seem to understand that Ireland is a sovereign country, and that it is [in] Europe," she said.

"The fact of the geography of the island of Ireland, is not Ireland’s fault. I thought that this was all kind of taken for granted and I’m very surprised and happy at the response, but I’m surprised that the British seem so stunned by it."

In relation to the relationship between Ireland and the US, Ms Greer said that the British public are not aware of the ties between the two countries.

"The truth of America, it is an Irish country. Many Americans can trace Irish ancestry, and not just white Americans - Barack Obama has Irish ancestry, I probably have Irish ancestry somewhere. People just do, that is the reality.

"When Americans use the term 'old country', they're not talking about England, they’re talking about Ireland.  You may say that it is very sentimental, but the feeling is there. They have no feeling for England at all, other than it is a charming place and we like to visit it.

"America is Irish. It’s German, it’s Spanish, it’s Latino, it’s Jewish, it’s indigenous Americans, it’s all these things - it’s not English. And that’s very important to say."

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Ms Greeer reiterated that there will be no trade deal between the US and the UK if it appears to hurt Ireland.

She made reference to Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who visited Ireland last April.

At the time, Ms Pelosi said a trade agreement between the US and the UK will not happen if it undermines the Good Friday Agreement.  

"The fact that the British, in particular, are being led down some sort of rose garden path, thinking that the United States is going to somehow spring to their rescue in relation to a US/UK trade deal  - not if it hurts Ireland, or appears to hurt Ireland. It’s not going to happen," Ms Greer said.

Emphasising the strength of feeling towards Ireland in the US, she described last night how in Chicago on St Patrick's Day the river is dyed green.

"People are very serious about Ireland in the United States. Don't mess with it. Don't make it look bad".