Governments must explore ways address unique circumstances of Ireland – Hazzard
Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard said today that the British and Irish governments should urgently explore ways in which the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland can be catered for in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.
Chris Hazzard was addressing today’s meeting of the British Irish Association in Oxford.
Chris Hazzard said:
“We cannot talk about the future without dealing with the issue of Brexit and its implications for the north of Ireland in particular.
“56% of the people of the north, Nationalists, Unionists and others voted to remain in the EU. In my opinion the British and Irish Governments need to respect that mandate.
“The recent whirlwind tour of the north by the British Secretary of State is not proper consultation on Brexit and should not be disguised as such.
“As a Brexit scenario has never happened before there is an opportunity for blue sky thinking about the north remaining in the EU. The British and Irish governments should urgently explore ways in which the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland can be catered for. The reality is that the north could remain as part of the EU if and when Britain decides to exit.”
And the South Down MLA said that transitional funding arrangements announced by the British government for farmers and EU funded projects doesn’t go far enough.
“The recent announcement by the British Government over transitional funding arrangements for farmers and some EU funded projects doesn’t go far enough and fails to guarantee continued funding.
“For example, it does not cover the potential hundreds of millions of Ten-T infrastructure funding that my Department was planning to access to fund major infrastructural project like the Southern Link Road and the Belfast Interchange.
“The Executive will not be able to replace lost EU funding - it simply does not have the finances to do so. In fact, we have a reduced budget because the British Government has inflicted billions of pounds in cuts to the Executive’s finances over these last five years.
“In the absence of the British Government honouring the majority vote in the north to remain then there should be a unity referendum. This would allow the people rather than Tory politicians with no mandate in Ireland to decide the future political arrangements on the island.”