Kearney calls on Congress to spearhead Strategic Civic Initiative
Addressing the NIC-ICTU seminar, ‘Workers must not pay the price of Brexit’, today in Belfast, Sinn Féin Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA called upon ICTU to spearhead a strategic civic initiative against Brexit, and in support of Special Designated Status for the north of Ireland within the EU.
Declan Kearney said:
“Today’s ICTU seminar involving 16 affiliate unions in the north put an absolutely vital focus upon the threat from Brexit to jobs, workers’ rights, labour standards, and wider rights issues in our society. Importantly it occurred at the same time as the ‘Border Communities Against Brexit’ protest at Stormont, and the triggering of Article 50 by the British Government.
“In my contribution today I also highlighted the very serious repercussions Brexit will have for all-island economic integration, cross-border trade, and particularly for the services, manufacturing and agri-food sectors in the six counties.
“The scale of the catastrophe promised by Brexit is already becoming apparent with the drop in the value of sterling and rise in inflation with a knock-on effect for living standards and wage levels.
“However, ultimately Brexit will be a disaster for Irish national interests, both economically and politically. It directly threatens the very basis of the Good Friday Agreement, and the imperative for establishing a Bill of Rights.
“Most political parties in the north, alongside Dáil Éireann and a huge cross-section of civic society on the island endorse the broad concept of special designated status.
“This consensus needs to be consolidated and expanded across political and civic society.
“Today I called upon the Irish Congress of Trade Unions as the largest civic organisation in Ireland to spearhead a strategic civic initiative north and south, with other stakeholders and political parties, to promote the case for Special Designated Status and secure the support of the Irish government. That is the only way to protect jobs, living standards, economic growth and trade, and the future potential for developing a rights-based society in the north.”