Tory proposals on Brexit delusional – O’Neill

 

The Tory government’s latest Brexit proposals “are not compatible with the Good Friday Agreement, the economic interests of Ireland north and south or the democratically expressed wishes of the people”, Sinn Féin Northern leader Michelle O’Neill has said.

The Mid-Ulster MLA also branded the papers, published today, as a cynical attempt to use Ireland and our peace agreements as a bargaining chip in a wider EU negotiation.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“The document in common with the approach of the British Government thus far is big on rhetoric but thin on actual commitments.

“The Good Friday Agreement safeguards the human rights of citizens in a European context and provides for access to the ECJ. These are fundamental aspects of our political and policing dispensation. The British government proposal sets aside this obligation.

“The proposals on a Customs Union have been dismissed within hours as deluded, untested and unrealistic.

“They fail to deal with the loss of structural funds and CAP and other critical EU funding streams.

“The Good Friday Agreement is based on three interrelated and interdependent strands, which are within the North, North/South and between Ireland and Britain.

“The British government aspiration to continue with North South co-operation is completely at odds with their policy of imposing Brexit in the North.

“They are not compatible with the Good Friday Agreement, the economic interests of Ireland north and south or the democratically expressed wishes of the people to remain in the EU.

“The Tory proposals fail to manage or minimise the impact of Brexit on the north. All of their proposals are contingent on negotiations with the EU. They are prepared to set aside their obligations under the Good Friday Agreement and to use our agreements, economy and rights as a bargaining chip with the EU.

“There is also a very real concern that they are cynically exploiting the unique circumstances here in order to try and force concessions from the EU as evidenced by their assertion that a ‘sufficiently deep agreement’ with the EU could help create a frictionless border in Ireland.

“What they are really saying is; agree to our terms on the customs union if you want to protect the Irish peace process. If that is the case, it is a disgraceful attempt to play politics and exploit the EU’s commitment to our peace process in order to further their own ends.

“The onus is now on the Irish Government as a joint guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement and a member state of the EU Council to argue the democratically expressed wish of the cross-community majority in the North who voted to Remain within the EU with the rest of Ireland.

“Sinn Féin believes that the best solution to achieve this objective is through designated special status for the North within the EU.” CRÍOCH/ENDS

 

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