Brexit must be resisted - Gerry Adams TD
SIPTU held a seminar on Brexit in the Ballymascanlon Hotel in Co Louth on Tuesday and Wednesday (18th and 19th September). The seminar was organised by SIPTU Private Sector Manufacturing Division and Agriculture, Ingredients, Food and Drink Sector with NIC-ICUT and IUF/EFFAT.
Representatives from Britain were in attendance for the briefing on the negative impact of Brexit and its implication for workers.
On Wednesday morning Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams TD, Labour Senator Ged Nash and Bernard Boyle from 'Communities against Brexit' addressed a plenary session of the seminar on the implications of Brexit for the border region, the Good Friday Agreement and workers’ rights.
Louth TD Gerry Adams told the audience:
“As that great republican Labour leader and trade unionist James Connolly said to his court martial three days before his execution: 'the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland'.
"Thanks to the work of many good people British government involvement in Ireland in now conditional.
"When a majority vote for an end to the union with Britain, London is obliged to leave under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
"I believe all democrats in Ireland and Britain should work to secure a referendum to achieve this and for a positive outcome to that referendum, that is, a united Ireland.
"Sinn Féin wants to see a real republic – a new shared republic – which unites all our people on the basis of equality”.
On Brexit Teachta Adams said:
“The island of Ireland is uniquely exposed to Brexit due to the huge amount of trade with Britain, the impact of partition, and the potential for undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
"Brexit presents the most serious social, economic and political threat to the people of the island of Ireland for a generation.
"Louth is a border county – partition cuts it off from its natural hinterland in Armagh and Down. It faces unique and significant challenges. Over the last two years a whole series of reports have warned of the risks of Brexit.
"In March 2017 an Oireachtas report by the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on ‘The Likely Economic Impact of Brexit with Particular Emphasis on Jobs and Enterprise’ called for designated special status for the North. The report also identified agriculture as a sector at serious risk.
"Disruptions to the agri-food sector, through the imposition of tariff barriers, border checks, certification requirements, or other regulatory changes could make much of our current trade uneconomic.
"The onus therefore is on the Irish government to protect the rights of citizens in the North; to defend the Good Friday Agreement; and to ensure that there is minimal disruption to our two economies whatever agreement is reached.”
On the issue of workers’ rights Gerry Adams said:
“There is a fierce denial of workers’ rights on both parts of this island. Brexit will be used as a “race to the bottom” in terms of workers’ rights.
"Important elements of the working relationship, such as pay and working time, are almost all regulated by EU social law. Brexit is a threat to this.
"We are already facing a rise in if-and-when contracts, in agency workers, and the watering-down of pension and other entitlements.
"Brexit needs to be resisted – and Sinn Féin would see this resistance coming from an alliance of progressive forces on this island.
"Sinn Féin wants special status for the north. We want the north to stay within the EU legal framework. This would mean that workers’ rights would continue to have the protection of EU law.
"We also want the Good Friday Agreement protected in all its parts and for the North to stay in the customs union and single market.”