Speaking in Strasbourg this week after the European Parliament passed a resolution on Brexit negotiations, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said the Irish Government must now take the lead ensuring that the political, social and economic challenges of Brexit for the whole island are addressed by securing special status for the north within the EU.
The MEP for Midlands-Northwest said:
“This week’s European Parliament resolution is an endorsement of Sinn Féin’s call for Designated Special Status for the North of Ireland within the European Union.
“It is the result of the efforts of Irish MEPs, particularly Sinn Féin MEPs under the leadership of Martina Anderson, in recent months.
“The European Parliament is clear on the point there should be no hardening of the Irish border, that the Good Friday Agreement must be protected in all its parts and that the rights of citizens in the North, who will remain EU citizens, have to be respected.
“The British Government has so far failed to devise any credible proposals for dealing with these issues and have refused to say how they will protect the North of Ireland from the effects of a hard Brexit. Thankfully today the efforts by Brexiteers and unionists to undermine the elements of the report relating to Ireland failed utterly.
“Sinn Féin have been clear since the results of the Brexit referendum were first announced- the North must continue to access the European Courts and European Funding programmes and the rights of Irish Citizens in the North must have their rights as EU citizens upheld.
“In any Brexit agreement, the North has to remain within the Customs Union and the single market.
“The Good Friday Agreement must be fully protected in all its parts and the North must be granted Designated Special Status in the EU.
“This week, the EU parliament took an important step forward towards reaching these objectives.
“The Irish Government must now take the lead ensuring that the political, social and economic challenges of Brexit for the whole island are addressed by securing special status within the EU.