“Preparations for ‘no-deal’ Brexit must be stepped up” – Matt Carthy MEP
The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on the government to step up preparations for the prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario which he described as a ‘very live possibility’. Carthy said that preparations must include a comprehensive financial package for vulnerable sectors, plans to protect the rights of Irish citizens in the north and planning for a referendum on Irish unity.
Matt Carthy said:
“In the first instance, all Irish political voices must remain steadfast in support of the withdrawal agreement and the backstop contained therein as the only available mechanism to minimise the damage that Brexit will cause to our country. Recognising that the British government’s strategy is to insert the prospect of a crash-out in order to force the EU into softening its position on the backstop, it would be folly for any Irish representatives to fall into that trap.
“However, the very dangerous position of the British government under Boris Johnson has increased the potential for that ‘no-deal’ scenario to materialise. It is now a very live possibility that must now be fully planned for by the Irish government and the European Union.
“A comprehensive financial package will be required for those sectors and regions most at risk. Britain remains our largest trading partner and therefore many export-led sectors, including agriculture, expect huge shocks in the event of a British crash-out from the EU. They need assurances that supports will be available to allow them to survive the turbulence. The measures mooted so-far are wholly insufficient and therefore the Irish government must engage at an EU level to have a suitable financial package in place.
Good Friday Agreement
“There are 142 areas of co-operation between the north and south of our country and between the island of Ireland and Britain. All will be impacted by Brexit. Brexit preparations now require contingency measures for each of those areas.
“We know that the Good Friday Agreement will be severally undermined by Brexit, particularly a no-deal Brexit. Crucially there are concerns for the rights of those Irish citizens who live in the north and questions as to how Brexit will impact on them. These concerns have not been adequately addressed by the government but they no longer have the luxury of ignoring these issues. Plans must include provision to defend and protect that status of Irish citizens across the island”.
The Monaghan based representative said that a conversation on a United Ireland had now begun in a real way and that this conversation will undoubtedly intensify in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Carthy continued:
“Economics, demographics and natural progress have meant that many have already been discussing what a United Ireland might look like and how it can be brought about. Those discussions will become live debates in the event of a crash-out. In the north especially a new cohort will clearly see Irish unity as the only vehicle to remain part of the European Union.
“Therefore there is an onus on all political parties to come together to map out how we can bring about a United Ireland and make it a success for everyone who shares this island. For too long our government and some political parties, particularly Fianna Fáil, have dismissed calls to engage in a process of planning for the re-unification of Ireland. A no-deal Brexit will make that stance appear incredibly reckless. We must all come together and plan a roadmap towards the inevitability of a referendum on unity taken place.
“The aspiration of Irish Unity is legitimate, sensible and in line with the Good Friday Agreement. If the stated direction of the British government remains unchanged it may be the only way that we can minimise the devastation that Brexit will cause to our economy and the political and social progress we have seen over the past two decades. Our government must begin the planning now.”