Challenges exposed by Brexit remain unresolved – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that a united community front against Brexit must continue as the challenges it has exposed will remain unresolved, even if the negotiated withdrawal agreement is ratified by the British parliament.
Speaking this week, Matt Carthy, said:
“I am proud to have been part of the all-Ireland team of Sinn Féin MEPs who forced the issues pertaining to Ireland, and especially the impact of the border, into the heart of the Brexit negotiations. When we first articulated a policy of ‘special status’ for the north Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael representatives accused us of grandstanding and said it was ‘unrealistic’. It has since become, essentially, the EU position in negotiations.
“I welcome that and commend the government for strengthening their earlier positions. I also broadly welcome the withdrawal agreement published last week as a positive step in protecting our economy and the Good Friday Agreement.
“But even if, and at this stage it is a big ‘if’, this deal is ratified by all sides many challenges will remain particularly issues related to the rights of Irish citizens in the north.
“We know that there is no such thing as a good Brexit from an Irish point of view and therefore it is still imperative that we are united in our position that there can be no hardening of the Irish border. The Taoiseach’s warning at the weekend that a hard border would be “very difficult” to avoid if Britain exits from the EU without a deal in place is a worrying retreat that cannot be accepted.
“The reality is there can and must be no hard border in Ireland. The border we have is already too hard and has already caused too much damage. It is the job of the government to ensure that there is no hard border in Ireland”.
A United Ireland?
Continuing, Matt Carthy, said that the debate on Irish Unity which was accelerated following the Brexit vote will not go away.
He said: “Whether the withdrawal agreement is ratified or not it is clear that the undemocratic nature of partition remains exposed. The people of the north voted to remain within the EU. Even under this agreement their rights as EU citizens have been undermined by Brexit.
“The Brexit debacle has confirmed for many, and convinced for the first time many others, that the British political system cares little about any part of Ireland. They have rightly come to the view that the best way to protect their interests, economically, socially and politically is through the unification of our country.
“Therefore we need to begin working on delivering a referendum on a United Ireland. That means that all parties that advocate a position in favour of Unity should work together to prepare a roadmap to that referendum and a plan to ensure that a United Ireland happens in a seamless way that delivers upon its potential.
“The time for avoiding this debate has passed. Brexit has accelerated the discussion about what a United Ireland will look like. It’s time we come together to answer the questions and prepare for that outcome so that we can create a new Ireland that serves all our people”.