Government must join Brexit debate – Doherty

NEWS

 January 9, 2017
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Pearse Doherty said the Irish Government must take seriously the demand for special designated status within the EU for the North.

He was responding to comments from EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and British Prime Minister Theresa May on Brexit.

The Donegal TD said today he is particularly concerned with Theresa May’s comments over the weekend that immigration controls are more important to her than access to the single market or the Customs Union.

“Such a ‘hard Brexit’ would cause huge political, social and economic damage to the whole island of Ireland. Partition has been a failure- politically, socially and economically.

“The North being forced to leave the EU against the democratically expressed consent of its people will also represent a major set-back for and directly challenge the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement and would have huge consequences for rights protections and the safeguards contained within it. It also critically and fundamentally undermines the principle of consent.

“It is quite obvious the British government is now on a collision course with the EU in which our economy and successive peace process agreements are regarded as collateral damage.

“Sinn Féin credibly believes that the north should be designated special status within the EU and that the whole island of Ireland could remain within the EU together. We have published a very detailed position paper on the case for the North to achieve designated special status within the EU, and are actively engaging with key stakeholders on that.

“The Irish Government must seriously wake up to this demand. They should not become overly focused on East-West issues, but must also seriously examine North-South issues, including reunification.

“We are seeking to initiate a genuine and inclusive debate about the reunification of Ireland and the prospects for new constitutional, political and economic arrangements which better serve Ireland.

“The Irish Government must join this debate and robustly defend the rights of all citizens on this island against a reckless and foolhardy British Government who only cares about English interests.

“We need an Irish solution to what is an English problem.

“We cannot leave it up to the EU or to Britain to look out for Ireland and protect Irish interests. That is the Irish Government’s duty and they must do this resolutely in the upcoming negotiations.”