Brexit already damaging cross-border business - MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that Brexit will have wide ramifications for businesses, tourism and jobs in Irish border counties and has the potential to cause hardship for people who cross the border on a daily basis for work and education.
He said that uncertainty caused by the Brexit referendum result is already damaging trade and investment and causing currency fluctuations which are impacting on cross-Border business.
Saying it is vitally important for maximum cooperation between the Northern Executive and the Irish Government to uphold the democratic wishes of voters in the North, he added that the idea of English and Welsh votes dragging the north out of the EU against the will of its people would be a travesty of democracy.
Addressing a meeting in Cavan this evening Matt Carthy said:
“In the years since the Good Friday Agreement, the border has become all but invisible. Brexit seriously threatens that important progress and risks inflicting significant damage on the economy north and south.
“The very last thing we need to see here in the border region is the re-emergence of border controls, customs posts and all the paraphernalia of Partition which had been banished with the peace process.
“There is a real and deepening concern now, here in Cavan and right across the border region, as to how Brexit will impact on businesses, tourism and on people who cross the border on a daily basis for work and education.
“The prospect of a new EU frontier, stretching from Dundalk to Derry, is not acceptable to those of us living and working in border areas, North or South.
The uncertainty caused by the Brexit referendum result is already damaging trade and investment and causing currency fluctuations which are impacting on cross-Border business. But this will be as nothing compared to the hardships we will experience with the imposition of tariffs and the restriction of the free movement of goods, services and people on this island.
“New restrictions on cross-border agricultural trade would also be a devastating development for farmers, particularly in border counties. Farming communities, North and South, have always worked together and that is the way things should continue into the future.
“People’s access to the nearest medical care or ambulance service may be disrupted as a result of a strengthening of the border and, as a result, the lives of border residents may be put at risk.
“There is £1.2 billion worth of trade carried out between the North and the South of Ireland each week and an estimated 200,000 jobs are dependent on this trade. With one part of the island operating within the EU and another part outside it, all of this is at risk.
“Of course, people in the North of Ireland - nationalist and unionist - like those in Scotland, voted to remain within the European Union. It is vitally important now that there is maximum cooperation between the Northern Executive and the Irish government to uphold their democratic wishes.
"For English votes to drag the north out of the EU against the will of its people would be a travesty of democracy.
“I believe that most people are now coming to understand that the only realistic way to prevent this is through the unity of this island. That is why Sinn Féin is campaigning for a unity referendum, as provided for under the Good Friday Agreement. The issue and the logic of Irish unity has now come to the fore in a way that it hasn’t in many years.”