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Adams calls for publication of a White Paper on Brexit and clarity on Customs Posts

17 February, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning addressed the Civic Dialogue Conference in Dublin Castle. The Sinn Féin leader was accompanied by Michelle O’Neill, the party’s leader in the North.

The Sinn Féin leader called on the Irish Government to publish a White Paper on Brexit outlining its strategic policies and economic, trade and political objectives.

Gerry Adams said:

“Since we last met in November, the British Prime Minister Theresa May has published the British Government’s White Paper outlining their approach to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. They are now expected to trigger Article 50 within weeks.

“I agree with the Taoiseach’s assessment that Brexit poses unprecedented political, economic and diplomatic challenges to peace and prosperity on our island. However, Mr. Kenny’s rejection of the proposition that the north be afforded a special designated status within the EU is a grave mistake. Without such a designation, a hard border is inevitable. I very much welcome the vote in the Dáil calling on the Government to negotiate for the north to be designated as having special status within the EU. Tá mé tar éis é sin rá le tamall anuas.

“On Wednesday, we learned that officials are involved in contingency planning for customs posts along the border. Though when I asked the Taoiseach about this in the Dáil, he said, ‘I hope nobody is looking for sites along the border’. When Pearse Doherty pressed the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on this, Minister Noonan said Revenue was engaged in contingency planning.

“The Taoiseach again yesterday said he ‘didn’t know’ of any such plans. As a matter of urgency, the Government needs to give clarity on this issue. The Taoiseach also needs to publish a White paper on Brexit as soon as possible.

“Farmers, the fishing industry, the tourism sector, the building industry, local businesses, and all of those hoping to invest and create jobs want certainty from our government. So that means the Government laying out a clear, proactive position to the British Government, to other EU member states, and to all of the other stakeholders involved, including the people in this room and throughout the island of Ireland.

“Our Government cannot continue merely reacting to what the British government have to say, or what they may or may not do, or worst still repeating the British line with an Irish spin on it.

“It also means we have to fight our corner at every negotiating table where the implications of Brexit will be thrashed out. That is what every other member state will be doing. It means forging new relationships and making new allies within the EU.

“There is also an opportunity and a need to reform the European institutions; including the strengthening of the role of smaller member states within it. That has been Sinn Féin’s consistent position. That must be an objective of our Government.

“The Taoiseach in his Mansion House speech this week on Brexit referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall. He said it was in this city that ten countries, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe joined the European Union in 2004. It ended definitely the border that had divided Europe for decades.

“It would be cruelly ironic if it was here in Ireland that EU borders and customs posts and division would re-emerge. That a new European frontier would run from Dundalk to Derry. That must be avoided at all costs.” 

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