Doherty calls on Government to Push for Securing Designated Special Status for the North within the EU as Brexit Talks Officially Begin
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today renewed calls on the Government to commit to securing special designated status for the North within the EU as part of its stance ahead of Brexit negotiations which officially get underway today.
Speaking today, teachta Doherty said:
“Securing designated special status for the North and ensuring its continued membership within the EU is essential if we are to best guarantee future economic growth and job creation on this island.
“Should the six counties be forcibly removed from the European Union against the democratically expressed wishes of the people of the North then this will undoubtedly have a devastating impact on nearly every aspect of life both North and South.
“In terms of the economy, Brexit and the potential erection of a physical land border on the island will have major implications on business and trade here.
“And the idea of a return to customs checkpoints and the imposition of customs obligations for businesses involved in cross-border trade would be catastrophic for these companies and the some 2.3 million cross-border trips they make each year between North and South.
“What has become increasingly clear in recent years and what more and more highly acclaimed economists and academic researchers have been arguing is that the development of an all-island economy on this island makes strong economic sense and could have the potential to create jobs and grow business on both sides of the border.
“This is why, as the Brexit talks officially get underway today, I am again calling on the Government to adopt the securing of special designated status for the North within the EU the State’s official position on Brexit as part of these negotiations between Britain and the EU.
“Furthermore, I would again urge the Government to support the various proposals which Sinn Féin has called for and which we’ve included in our party’s Brexit document which we’ve entitled ‘How Ireland and the EU can fight the economic impact of Brexit north and south’, published a few weeks ago and in which we set out what we believe the economic priorities ought to be during these negotiations.
“Chief amongst our demands is securing Special status for the north within the EU to ensure continued access to the Single Market and the Customs Union and to maintain the North’s trading relationship with the rest of Ireland and the EU.
“We’ve also called for a Trade Deal to be reached with Britain, while we’ve also highlighted the need to ensure that EU energy and Infrastructure programmes look at the needs of the island of Ireland as a whole going forward.
“Sinn Féin has also put forward a range of fiscal measures which we believe the Irish government should pursue in order to mitigate the disastrous impact of Brexit, including a temporary state-aid framework to allow scope for increased state-led investment, the leveraging of Structural Funds to allow north-south co-operation to be treated as a qualifying combination for inter-regional programmes post-Brexit, as well as the creation of a new Brexit Solidarity Fund for sectors and regions likely to be severely impacted by Brexit.
“I also note that as part of its key priorities for businesses as part of Brexit negotiations published in its recent Brexit document, IBEC too has called for a number of similar measures to help mitigate Brexit’s harmful effects, including the need to agree a temporary state aid framework, changes to how the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund operates, and increased spending on connective infrastructure.
“What’s critical now is for the Government to adopt an imaginative approach to the State’s response to Brexit and put forward sensible and creative solutions which will best serve our island as the Brexit negotiations commence.
“I believe that should the right approach and strategy be adopted, then much can be achieved for the island of Ireland as a whole.
“There is an appreciation at EU level for the unique challenges that Brexit poses for us here in Ireland and the Government must enter these negotiations with the sole intent of representing the interests of all of the Irish people.”