SDLP leader fears Brexit has ‘cast shadow’ over British Isles

SDLP leader Mr Eastwood speaking at the UUP conference on October 22, 2016
SDLP leader Mr Eastwood speaking at the UUP conference on October 22, 2016

The leader of the SDLP has suggested that the UK’s pending exit from the EU has caused the “shadow of the past” to fall over the British Isles once more.

Colum Eastwood, MLA for Foyle, also accused the UK Government of “amnesia or ignorance” over the effect Brexit will have on the Province.

His remarks, contained in a statement following an appearance at Westminster on Wednesday, came a day after two former taoiseachs gave evidence in the House of Lords’ EU select committee.

During that session, ex-Irish leader John Bruton (Fine Gael) cited the recent murder of Adrian Ismay as a reason to be “very careful” around the Northern Irish peace process, but fellow ex-Irish leader Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail) had said he “really can’t see any violence or related problems” as a result of Brexit.

Mr Eastwood said: “The British Government has lost its institutional memory... Their amnesia or ignorance continues to wield an axe of simplicity into the layered complexities of the Irish political dispensation.

“Standing in Westminster in 2014, President Michael D Higgins spoke of how ‘the shadow of the past has become the shelter of the present’.

“I am deeply worried that Brexit has once more cast a shadow across these islands.”