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Support growing for special status designation for North – Adams

10 March, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the publication of the Oireachtas report by the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on ‘The Likely Economic Impact of Brexit with Particular Emphasis on Jobs and Enterprise’.

Teachta Adams said:

“The Committee’s endorsement of a designated special status for the North within the EU is a very important addition to the growing political and public support for this.

“In its report, the Oireachtas Committee acknowledges that it is ‘essential to argue the case for designated special status within the EU’.

It also supports the need to:

·         ‘protection of the peace process and protection and full implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements;

·        access to the EU Single Market;

·         maintain access to all EU funding streams;

·         remain part of the Common Travel Area;

·         maintain access to the EU institutions including the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and EU sectoral agreements;

·         protect access to EU rights pertaining to employment, social security and healthcare;

·         protect the right of northern Irish citizens as Irish, and therefore, EU citizens, and all rights pertaining thereto.’

“All of these are vital measures to protect jobs, defend communities, protect rights, and uphold the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The report identifies agriculture as a sector under serious risk. It cites the example of flour mills as illustrative of the difficulties Brexit will create. There are three flour mills on the island of Ireland, two of them in Belfast. The Belfast Mills export 60% of their output to the South. If World Trade Organisation tariffs are introduced post-Brexit, this could present huge additional costs as these are very high at €178 per tonne, representing a tariff of 50%.

“Milk production is another sector that will face significant difficulties as a result of two different regulatory and trading regimes; some 600 million litres of milk flows across the border every year from the North to the South where it is processed in the South into milk powder, infant formula, and other products.

“This is about 25% of the North’s total milk output. In the event of Brexit WTO tariffs would impose an aggregate tariff of 45%. This would undermine milk production, make it very uncompetitive, and pose a grave rick to the future of many dairy farmers in the North.

“Then there is the imposition of customs posts and delays along the border as checks have to be carried out.

“This report is the result of many months of work and engagement with individuals and organisations that have outlined the potential effects on jobs Brexit will have. There was unanimity from these stakeholders that Brexit will have negative consequences on the Irish economy.

“I would urge anyone concerned about the impact of Brexit to read the report which is available on the Oireachtas website.” 

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