Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has outlined his party’s record of delivering for Ireland in Europe with respect to the challenges presented by Brexit since 2016.
The Midlands North West representative said:
“Sinn Féin MEPs have played a crucial role of providing political leadership in response to Brexit since 2016.
“We advocated a Remain vote in the referendum while others, some who are now EU candidates, recklessly promoted the Tory Brexit agenda.
“It was the Sinn Féin team in Brussels that brought Irish concerns, particular concerns regarding the border, and the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement, to the heart of Brexit deliberations.
“While others accused us of being naïve when we first raised the notion of special status for the north, our efforts ensured that that became, essentially, the position of the Irish government and subsequently the EU.
“Sinn Féin MEPs have also played a constructive role in helping shape the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes the backstop.
“There can be no dilution of that provision; it represents the least worst option for our country. Anything less is a major threat to the Good Friday Agreement, to our rights and to our economy.
“We cannot tolerate the North being excluded from the customs union or single market. We cannot return to borders of the past.
“We have been advocating since 2016 for a Brexit relief fund for Ireland, including an automatic mechanism that can easily be triggered in the event of tariffs being instated, significant currency fluctuations or other Brexit-related shocks.
“We have called on the EU to establish such a fund, and to suspend state aid rules that would prevent the Irish government from providing support to crucial sectors that will be negatively impacted by Brexit.
“Returning a strong Sinn Féin team to the European Parliament means that we can continue to fight to ensure there is no dilution of the backstop, and to ensure that people in the North continue to have representation in Brussels and enjoy their full rights as EU citizens.
“We will continue our work of calling on EU leaders to adopt a position in favour of the reunification of Ireland under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.”