British actions on Brexit shows utter disregard for the Irish people – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the British parliament vote on Tuesday evening to reject Theresa May’s latest proposals on the Withdrawal Agreement demonstrates a total disregard for Ireland and its people.
And, the British government proposals for a post-Brexit tariff regime simply reinforced the Westminster ‘game-playing’ acts according to the MEP. Carthy said that businesses, farmers and communities across Ireland were rightly becoming increasingly concerned about the projection of the Brexit process.
Speaking from Strasbourg on Wednesday, the Midlands North West MEP said:
“Now we are just two weeks away from Brexit. The landslide vote in Westminster makes a no-deal scenario more likely, which would be unthinkable for the peace process, jobs, trade and to the loss of people’s rights and quality of life, particularly in border communities.
“British MPs have again voted emphatically against the expressly stated wishes of vast majority of people in the north of Ireland, with potentially devastating implications for our whole island.
“Shamefully, the DUP ignored the wishes of the people of the North and the border communities, who are deeply and justifiably concerned about the impact of a no-deal Brexit. This blinkered strategy is reckless in the extreme. It is driving us all towards a no-deal crash that would be catastrophic.
“We don’t think the Withdrawal Agreement is perfect – far from it. But it includes an insurance policy for Ireland. The backstop is a guarantee that no hard border will be imposed on this island and it protects the Good Friday Agreement.
“Sinn Féin indicated our view that the legal assurances secured by Britain do not alter the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, and that the Agreement agreed by the Dáil in November still stands.
“Foolish Fianna Fáil”
“The Westminster vote shows that, foolishly, Fianna Fáil seemed to be the only people in Ireland, Britain or the EU who believed these changes undermined the backstop.
“The EU has made it clear that the Withdrawal Agreement is not going to be reopened for negotiation. There is now a need to intensify planning for a no-deal crash with an imperative to ensure no return to a hard border, protections of our agreements and safeguarding the rights of citizens.
British Tariff proposals
“The tariff announcement on Wednesday has become just the latest example of ‘game-playing’ on the part of the British government. Having spent the last two years claiming that there can be no difference in approach for the north of Ireland versus Britain, the British government have now proposed a tariff regime that does just that and acknowledges that there will be a need for special arrangements for the island of Ireland.
“The proposal that there would be no tariffs on goods moving from south to north is welcome but the devil will be in the detail. The Irish government must also maintain its stance that it will not impose new checks on the border.
“The British proposals will be of little comfort to many businesses, farmers & communities though.
The suggestion of tariffs on Irish goods entering the British market is clearly a nightmare scenario, especially for vulnerable sectors such as the beef industry.
“It is now imperative the Irish government, with the support of the EU, outline proposals for a comprehensive financial compensation scheme for those sectors impacted by such a scenario.
“This is yet another stark reminder that there is no good Brexit for any part of Ireland. We must collectively work on this island to prepare for the impact of a no deal Brexit; all options must be open for consideration.
“In the face of such blatant disregard for the Irish people by the British political establishment, it is time to discuss a new future where we can, together, decide our own course free of Tory debacles. It’s time for a referendum through which we can achieve independence and unity.” ENDS