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Brexit difficulties ‘an opportunity to build a progressive New Ireland’ – Michelle O’Neill MLA

30 May, 2017 - by Michelle O'Neill


Brexit difficulties ‘an opportunity to build a progressive New Ireland’ – Michelle O’Neill MLA

Speaking at the Irish Times Economic Summit in Dublin today, Sinn Féin MLA and leader in the North Michelle O’Neill said that in order to combat the devastating future impact of Brexit, we must develop and nurture, build and grow the all-Ireland economy as Brexit also represents an opportunity to build a progressive New Ireland, which is inclusive, successful and confident as we face the future together.

The Mid-Ulster MLA said:

“Our economy and society were decimated following the banking and property crash. While other countries wanted to imitate our economy, it became clear with its collapse in 2010 that it was one built on sand. People endured relentless austerity. I want success and recovery for everyone – with no family left behind.

“New uncertainties and risks now pose a serious threat to progress not least in terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and its implications for the island of Ireland, which will be affected more than any other country due to partition and our land border.

“There is no doubt that cross border trade and all island supply chains will be deeply impacted by Brexit, through the imposition of border controls and the potential for trade tariffs.  

“Sinn Féin has argued that the only credible approach is for the north to be designated a special status within the EU and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU together.

“We need the Taoiseach, whoever that may be, and Government in Dublin to argue the case and stand up for the national interests of the entire island.  The North is at risk of being collateral damage and it is no time for quiet diplomacy by the Irish Government.

“We need to open doors to trade, investment, tourism and jobs but also develop and invest in our indigenous industries and provide them with the capabilities to become global leaders in their own right. We need to develop and nurture, build and grow the all-Ireland economy where we develop closer regimes and models of integration.

“We need to improve our competitiveness through investing in our public services and infrastructure.

“The North needs effective governance and leadership in response to the political and economic challenges we face and we in Sinn Féin certainly want to provide it.

“However, we will only return to Stormont on the basis of equality and with unionist partners who are competent, who can command public trust and confidence.

“We are entering a defining period in Irish political and economic history. The opportunities for real change are within our grasp.

“The old certainties are gone. Europe is in a state of flux. It is a time for big ideas.  

“This means new economic thinking, new ideas and an honest and coherent political approach and an integrated and sustainable policy plan based on core republican values.

“I believe it is the opportunity to build a progressive New Ireland, which is inclusive, successful and confident as we face the future together.”

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