British Cabinet unity no substitute for workable Brexit plan - David Cullinane TD
David Cullinane, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Brexit, said this evening that while Theresa May's forthcoming white paper shows movement, the proposals as they stand will lead to a hardening of the border and a diminution of the rights of the citizens of the north.
Deputy Cullinane said:
"After two years Theresa May has finally convinced the British cabinet to accept the British government's plan.
"While she may have overcome the challenges in her own cabinet, she still needs to deal with the issues that brexit has thrown up with regard to the island of Ireland.
"At the moment we have a frictionless border as the north is in both the single market and customs union.
"Theresa May's plan will leave the north in some kind of bespoke customs partnership while removing it from the single market.
"There is no such thing as partial membership of the single market and a frictionless bespoke border.
"Such a set-up is a trade agreement - and those agreements are predicated on hard borders. They rely on borders in order to exist.
"There is also the issue of the European Courts of Justice and Human Rights.
"Theresa May talks of honouring the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement.
"Yet the Belfast Agreement is not a customs agreement but one that relates to identity, citizenship, social and legal rights and the protection of all of these through recourse to the European Courts.
"It cannot be protected through the British government acting as a tax collector for the EU - as envisioned through the untested proposal of the Facilitated Custom Arrangement.
"The fact remains that in order to avoid a hardening of the border and to protect the rights of Irish and EU citizens in the north, the island of Ireland must remain in the customs union and single market and remain part of the EU human rights framework.
"Theresa May has to explain in detail how her proposals will achieve this.
"We await the publication of the British government's White Paper and the answering of these questions.”