Minister Chris Hazzard outlines immediate Brexit concerns to Oireachtas Joint-Committee on Jobs and Enterprise
Assembly Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard has told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation that the ending of access to EU funding and to the single market are his immediate concerns in the wake of Brexit.
Both Minister Hazzard and Assembly Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir addressed the committee today in Dublin.
Minister Hazzard said;
"At this early stage, one of my main concerns is about the loss of access to EU funding.
"For my Department, the financial and operational implications of losing access to infrastructure funding programmes from Europe are significant.
"We’ve worked hard – as has DTTaS – to raise the profile of some of our most significant projects within the European Commission with the specific purpose of attracting co-financing - these include the York Street Interchange, Newry Southern Relief Project and the Belfast Transport Hub.
"The cross-border dimension that these have, adds weight to each application, and provided us with a very reasonable expectation of success in securing funding.
"Despite the circumstances we find ourselves in, I am very much committed to pursuing opportunities to access EU funding programmes between now and exit.
"For years, there have been good levels of co-operation through-out Ireland between administrations in Dublin and Belfast to support the securing of EU funding for cross-border projects. We need to build on this and ensure that it continues in the future.
"I also think we have an opportunity to show a united front during negotiations in areas that would benefit both administrations. In particular, to lobby for our retaining a presence in EU transport / infrastructure plans through continued participation in the TEN-T programme and access to its CEF funding mechanism.
"I believe that this could also help the South, which would, by a deconstruction of the North Sea Mediterranean Core Corridor, almost inevitably become further isolated in EU infrastructure terms.
"Another concern I have relates to access to the single market. If our access is heavily constricted or lost altogether, it will create problems for all sectors of the transport industry (including ports, airports, road and rail) on the island.
"Sinn Féin is strongly opposed to the North being forced out of the EU and believe that as part of the Brexit negotiations, it is essential that we argue the case for designated special status for the North within the European Union."