May's Brexit customs deal no substitute for special status for the North - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Brexit David Cullinane TD has said today that regardless of the customs deal eventually agreed between Britain and the EU, the rights of the people of the North must be respected and validated.Deputy Cullinane said:
"I welcome the growing sense of reality among Theresa May's government that Britain as a whole should stay within the customs union.
"However, even this is being talked of as a temporary solution.
"We cannot have temporary solutions or gentlemen's agreements for the north.
"Although there were commitments in last December's political agreement, there is no agreement on the details, which the government says are still being worked out.
"We need to know how the political, social and economic rights of EU citizens in the north will be vindicated - or example, access to healthcare funding if people travel and access to education opportunities.
"These are important issues for people who live in the North, and they want to know how they can exercise their rights as EU citizens in the North if it is taken out of the EU against its will.
"Let us be clear on this; there will be a border if the hard Brexiteers get their way and Britain leaves the customs union.
"This is why we need special status for the North.
"That means, in practical terms, the North staying in the customs union and single market, protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts - which means the Good Friday Agreement staying in the European Union and continuing to enjoy the authority of the European courts.
"It also means protecting the rights of citizens and people who live in the North of Ireland who are Irish and European citizens and should be able to enjoy the same level of rights after Brexit.
"This needs to be the government's focus going forward."