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Clarity needed on rights and contradictions in joint report – O’Neill

8 December, 2017 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin Leader in the north Michelle O’Neill said today that the Joint Report on progress from the negotiators to the EU represented a degree of progress but that more clarity is required and much more work needs to be done.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“The joint report represents a degree of progress. 

“What we have is an agreement on a set of principles related to Brexit including recognition of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, the need to ensure no hard border and the necessity to protect the Good Friday Agreement and to ensure that the rights of citizens cannot be diminished.

“However, the report lacks clarity and there are contradictions in the report and particularly in the comfort letter written by British Prime Minister Theresa May which was directed at one part of the community only.

“We have to remember that today’s words are not a final deal. As the negotiators have said nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

“This was merely a test of sufficient progress. 

“The Irish government have deemed the principles as sufficient to move on to the next stage of trade talks.

“However, the report sheds no light on the future role of the European Court of Justice and in particular, the right of EU citizens in that part of the island to be able to access the EU institutions.

“The Irish government needs to be very conscious that the refusal to embrace rights is at the heart of the current difficulties in the political institutions and the collapse of the Executive.

“Sinn Féin will continue to make the case for special status for the north, we will continue to articulate that our society needs to remain in the customs union and the single market because that is the best way to protect north/south east/west trade, citizens’ rights and ensure no reintroduction of any kind of border.

“This is not the time for final analysis, it is very much a work in progress. A lot more work needs to be done.” 

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