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Taoiseach must now set out his stall on Brexit negotiations – McDonald

18 January, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, has challenged the Taoiseach to lay out his plan and his strategy for dealing with the Article 50 Brexit negotiations, in the aftermath of the speech of the British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday.

She said the Taoiseach will sit around the negotiating table with twenty-seven other European Union member states, and that “he will have a view, a say, and a key role to play, and he must be assertive”.

Teachta McDonald said:

“Yesterday, the British Prime Minister Theresa May set out her stall in advance of Article 50 negotiations. Some have gone so far as to call it a plan, but it’s not a plan, it’s a wish list.

“It’s a wish list which will no doubt please the likes of Nigel Farage and those on the Tory right, but it’s clearly bad news for Ireland.

“Her intention to leave the single market and her indecisiveness about the customs union will have a detrimental impact on the economy, both in the north and across the island. Exiting either would create a hard border on this island.

“Her remarks on the future of the Common Travel Area contained no new details, other than vague references. We are still left wondering; Brexit means Brexit, means what?

“The one thing we do know is that Ms May’s ‘plan’ shows she continues to persist in ignoring the views of the people of this island. It is worth reminding ourselves that citizens in the north voted to remain. That voice needs to be heard.

“Far from voting with their eyes open to leave the European Union, the mandate from citizens on this island was clear - no to a little Englander approach and no to a hard border.

“The Taoiseach will sit around the negotiating table alongside the twenty-seven other remaining EU member states. He will have a view, and a say, and a key role to play, and he must be assertive.

“The issues at play are massive, and it will fall to him to uphold the democratic wishes of the people of this island that are being ignored by the British government.

“The only workable solution is for the north to be granted a special designated status within the European Union, and the Taoiseach needs to be working towards that goal.

“More than that, we also need to hear from the Taoiseach now a holistic approach to defending the interests of the entire island.

“Theresa May has set out her stall, but we need to hear the Taoiseach’s vision, his plan, his strategy, so I want to know when will we get that and when we will hear it.” 

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