Still time for Government to press for Designated Special Status for the North within the EU – Adams
Speaking at Leaders’ Questions today, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD told the Taoiseach that there is still time to press for Designated Special Status for the North within the European Union to be included in the EU’s Brexit negotiating guidelines which will be formally adopted on May 22nd.
The Sinn Féin leader made the call as he voiced his alarm regarding the contradiction between the positions of the Taoiseach and EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, regarding the possible reintroduction of custom checks between north and south in the wake of Brexit.
Speaking to the Taoiseach, Deputy Adams said;
“For over four months now, you have been denying that there will be customs checks along the border.
“In fact, you denied that the Government was looking for locations for such checks even though that was patently untrue and verified by the Minister for Finance, who confirmed that Revenue was looking for such locations.
“Your position was also contradicted by Michel Barnier in his address to the Oireachtas last week when he said: ‘Customs controls are part of EU border management. They protect the single market. They protect our food safety and our standards.’
“The economic implications of customs checks for the two economies on this island and especially for border communities are enormous.
“Clearly, negotiations on the draft EU negotiating directives are continuing before their adoption at the General Affairs Council on May 22nd.
“So, there is still time to press the EU for designated special status for the North within the European Union.
“Would it not be better if you did this instead of peddling the pretence that they will be no customs checks while your Government is actually looking for such locations?”
Speaking following the exchange, Deputy Adams said;
“The Taoiseach again refused to recognise that Designated Special Status for the North within the European Union is the best way of meeting the challenges posed by Brexit. It will keep all of Ireland within the European Union. It is the best way to prevent the reintroduction of custom checks between north and south.
“The Government must do all it can to ensure that this position is included in the final EU negotiating guidelines when they are formally adopted on May 22nd.”