Actions as well as soft words by DUP are needed - Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has warned that “DUP support for Brexit is ignoring the potentially disastrous impact it will have on the economy of the North.”
He added that the change in DUP Leader Arlene Foster's rhetoric is good but said actions as well as soft words are needed.
Gerry Adams said:
“To claim, as DUP Leader Arlene Foster has, that Brexit brings an ‘element of uncertainty,’ is the understatement of 2017. The DUP leader is ignoring the mounting economic evidence that Brexit will have a significant and detrimental impact on jobs, our economy, especially along the border region, and in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.
“A recent report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation identifies agriculture as a sector under serious risk. It cites the difficulties that will be faced by the two flour mills in Belfast which export 60% of their output to the South. If World Trade Organisation tariffs are introduced post-Brexit this could see an additional tariff of 50%, making the mills uncompetitive.
“Milk production will also 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 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 will impose an aggregate tariff of 45%. This would undermine milk production, make it uncompetitive, and pose a grave risk to the future of many dairy farmers in the North.
“This is not a matter of ‘uncertainty’. These are real and significant threats to jobs and families and communities.
“Sinn Féin believes that the only way to prevent this, to protect jobs, and ensure the continuation of EU funding for communities and agriculture, is for the North to have a special designated status within the EU. This is a common sense way to stop the border becoming the frontier between a non-EU state and the European Community. It would also uphold the vote in the North which is against Brexit.”
Responding to the DUP leader’s claim that a border poll would destabilise the North Gerry Adams said:
“You can’t claim, as Arlene Foster does, to be confident in the outcome of a border poll for the pro-union position and then deny citizens the opportunity to make a choice.
“While no one would claim that last June’s remain vote was a vote for unity, nonetheless a significant section of unionists voted to stay within the EU because that is in their economic self-interest. In this context the decision last week by the EU Council, that in the event of Irish reunification all of Ireland will automatically be in the EU, changes the political dynamic around unity.
“If Mrs Foster is so certain of the pro-union position then let the people have their say. The election on June 8th will be primarily about Brexit. But the constitutional status for the North will as always be the backdrop. The election provides an opportunity for Sinn Féin to take our republican vision; our message of hope in the future, of unity, reconciliation and peace out to the electorate.”
Concluding the Sinn Fein leader dismissed Arlene Foster’s willingness to re-enter power sharing immediately as “electoral spin.”
“DUP arrogance within the Executive and Assembly, and its denial of rights for citizens, as well as the scandal around the RHI initiative, brought the institutions down. Ms Foster knows this. She knows what is required to restore the institutions: DUP action on outstanding issues especially on the rights currently being denied citizens by the DUP. No one else can rectify this except the DUP. The change in Ms Foster's rhetoric is good. But actions as well as soft words are needed.”