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Special Status is the only viable mechanism for Brexit protocol - David Cullinane TD

23 March, 2018 - by David Cullinane TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson for Brexit, David Cullinane TD, said today that in the absence of Britain remaining in the Customs Union and single market, special status for the North is the only practical way to avoid a hardening of the border on the island of Ireland.

Speaking on the publication of the EU guidelines for negotiations on future relations with Britain, Deputy Cullinane said:

"Sinn Féin acknowledges the work that the EU and the Irish government have done in keeping the issue of Ireland on the agenda.

"However, with the details still to be worked out of how the Irish protocol will operate, now is not the time to take the foot off the pedal or engage in petty party politics.

"It is unfortunate that Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil have decided to criticise the progress made so far instead of working towards special status for the North.

"And it is clear that if and when Britain leaves the customs union and single market that special status is the only practical way to avoid a border on the island of Ireland.

"To date, the proposals from the British government, such as an electronic border, have been ruled out as unworkable and a return to a hard is not acceptable. 

"It is clear that a technological solution to Brexit is not possible. 

"It is also clear that the Irish government does not have a cast-iron guarantee.

"A legal text for a backstop arrangement has still not been agreed.

"Sinn Féin will judge the Irish government's performance on whatever legal text is eventually agreed.

"And it is vital that text ensures the protection of the rights of citizens, an avoidance of any hardening of the border, and protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts.

“Brexit is a political problem that requires a political solution. The only way forward is by the north being designated special status within the EU. 

"The discussions between the EU, British Government and the Irish Government must be on the type and model of specials status. 

"Special status for the north within the EU must be the political imperative for the protocol and Sinn Féin calls on the Irish government to work to achieve this outcome."

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