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All of Ireland must remain in Customs Union and Single Market - Matt Carthy MEP on Barnier visit

1 May, 2018 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, this week attended the all-Ireland civic dialogue Brexit held on the campus of DKIT in Dundalk, Co. Louth.  He joined his fellow Sinn Féin representatives including party president, MaryLou McDonald, vice-president Michelle O’Neill, former party leader Gerry Adams and Cllr. Ruairi Ó Mhurchadha who will contest the next General election for the Louth constituency.  The seminar was addressed by EU Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Carthy used the opportunity to reiterate his party’s position that all of Ireland must remain in the European customs union and the single market to protect the interests of all the Irish people.

Matt Carthy said:

“Michel Barnier’s most recent visit to Ireland and his participation at the civic dialogue in Dundalk was very welcome. Mr Barnier made it clear that the issue of the border in Ireland has yet to be resolved and he stated that it remains at the centre of current Brexit negotiations.

“It is vitally important, to protect the interests of all the Irish people, that the island as a whole remains within the European Customs Union and the Single Market.

“This is the only way to protect the interests of people on both sides of the border.

“The border issue cannot be long fingered by Ireland, Britain or the EU. With only 11 months to go until Britain exits the EU, there can be no prevarication on the border issue.  

“A resolution to the issue of the border, which needs to happen in time for the June EU Council meeting, must be the main priority of the Irish Government in particular, in the immediate period ahead.  The fact that there have been contradictory messages from the Irish government, with the Tánaiste saying June is a red line while the Taoiseach says it is a flexible date, is deeply worrying and they need to be steadfast in their position”.

Carthy reiterated the concerns expressed by MaryLou McDonald during her address to the civic dialogue that the familiarity of the Brexit debate could lead to complacency.  

He continued:

“I meet people who tell me they’re tired of all the talk on Brexit.  While I understand this sentiment the truth is that Brexit remains the greatest political, social and economic threat facing our entire island.  

“We need to keep reminding London, Brussels and Dublin that the people of the north voted to remain within the EU.  There is no mandate for Brexit in the north and its imposition would fundamentally undemocratic.

“There is no good Brexit, however soft.  It is as bad for our economy, for trade and for prosperity as it is for civic society and for the rights and entitlements of citizens, particularly in the North.  It will undermine the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process.

“That is why it is so important that the north to remain within the single market, the customs union and within the EU.  This is not an issue of orange and green. It is a political and social necessity to protect all of our people for now and into the future”.

Carthy, who left the Dundalk seminar to travel to the European Parliament in Brussels confirmed his party’s commitment to working constructively to address the challenges that present.  

“Sinn Féin will continue to use our mandate north and south and in the European Parliament to outline the dangers presented to Ireland by Brexit and we will leave no stone unturned to find the solutions necessary for all of Ireland to remain within the European Union, knowing as we do that the alternative results in hardship for the Irish people” he concluded.

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