Gerry Adams urges Irish Government to publish Brexit negotiating stance

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has urged the Irish Government to publish its negotiating position on Brexit “as a matter of urgency”.

Mr Adams made the comments at a conference on Brexit at the Carrickdale Hotel, described by Sinn Féin as a “public meeting” organised by MEPs Martina Anderson and Matt Carthy.

The party said the conference “included a task force of MEPs from across Europe who have arrived today to talk to local communities about their concerns on Brexit”.

Gerry Adams also outlined his party’s position that Northern Ireland should be given “special designated status with the European Union”.

The clock is now ticking on Brexit,” he said. “Sinn Féin’s position is that the North should be assigned special designated status with the European Union. This is not an unreasonable request. Nor is it beyond the ability of the EU to agree to.”

The Sinn Féin leader continued: “In the past the EU has shown itself to be flexible in agreeing pragmatic arrangements for dealing with complex territorial situations. Denmark is an EU member, yet Greenland is outside the Union. It still receives European funding.

“There is an obligation on the Irish and British Governments, all political parties, and indeed the European Union, to seriously explore the potential and possibility of special designated status for the North within the EU. That should certainly be the objective of the Irish government in the Brexit negotiations.

“Special Designated status within the EU is already supported by the majority of parties in the Dáil. It is supported by the majority of MLAs who were elected in the recent Assembly Elections. It is a realistic and achievable solution. It is also essential in the face of Brexit with its multiple threats to our agri-food sector, our agriculture, manufacturing and IT sectors and to our small businesses, especially along the border.

“Despite talk of no return to the borders of the past, and of a ‘seamless’ and ‘frictionless’ border, it is obvious that Brexit on British terms will see the imposition of a hard economic border on the island of Ireland.

“The Irish government must protect the interests of all the citizens on the island of Ireland, defend the Good Friday Agreement, and ensure that the frontier between the EU and Britain is not on this island.

“Brexit threatens to tear asunder the Good Friday Agreement. The British government is committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act and ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the European Convention on Human Rights. These are the heart and soul of the Good Friday and subsequent Agreements.”

He added: “It is now crucial that the Irish government act on the Dáil motion passed in February which calls for the north to be afforded special designated status within the EU. It must realise, and quickly, that it has a responsibility to stand up for the national interests of the whole island of Ireland and people have an expectation that they will do this.

“The Irish government must up its game considerably when it comes to meeting the threat posed by Brexit. The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has a responsibility to articulate and uphold the rights of citizens in North. The Irish government should also publish as a matter of urgency its own negotiating position so that it can be debated in the Dáil.”