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Irish Government must demand transitional EU deal in advance of Brexit

16 January, 2017

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that the Government needs urgently to demand a transitional EU deal for Ireland, in advance of Brexit, to protect the interests of Irish citizens and businesses, particularly in the border region.

Carthy's comments follow weekend leaks to the British media suggesting Prime Minister Theresa May will, in a speech to be delivered tomorrow, indicate that her Government is planning for a ‘hard Brexit’, severing major existing ties to the European Union.

Matt Carthy said:

“Weekend reports in the British media indicate that tomorrow’s speech by British Prime Minister Theresa May, will signal preparation for a ‘hard Brexit’, with Britain leaving the EU single market and the customs union.

“The impact of tomorrow's speech on the value of Sterling is likely to make things much more difficult for Irish exporters.

"For example, in the wake of the Brexit vote in June, Irish farmers lost €150 million, due to a fall in the value of sterling.

"The media leaks regarding Theresa May’s intentions, also raise questions about the future of the common travel area between Ireland and Britain – and the freedom for Irish people to work in Britain.

“If Britain seeks to impose new immigration controls, what will this mean for Irish citizens?

“What are the implications for goods crossing the Irish border of a British decision to leave the customs union ?

“What are the likely effects for workers, students and farmers crossing the border every single day?

“I have said before that the Irish Government is not pursuing the answers we need with the vigour and focus that is required. The latest developments make this even more critical.

“Britain leaving the single market and customs union, will require new trading arrangements between Ireland and Britain and we have no idea what the rules will be.

“Without​ ​ a transitional deal, uncertainty will grow​, adversely affecting currency, Irish exporters, our agriculture ​sector​ ​and farmers.

“We need clarity on all of these issues and a transitional deal to protect the best interests of irish citizens and businesses particularly on the border.

"That is what the Enda Kenny and his Government need to pursue with urgency, but I see no sign of that.”

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