There can be no trade border in Irish Sea: SF

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald has effectively called for the UK government to ensure there is no trade border between Northern Ireland and GB post-Brexit.

In a move that is sure to surprise many unionists, the republican leader appears to have adopted a similar position to that of the DUP, who for over a year have been warning against a potential customs border in the Irish Sea.

The Dublin Central TD’s remarks came on the same day a DUP delegation, including party leader Arlene Foster, took its case to Brussels.

The DUP leader told EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier that proposals for NI to be separated from GB by a trade border in the Irish Sea are “utterly unacceptable”.

In a statement issued yesterday evening, Ms McDonald – who met Mr Barnier on Monday – said: “The British government must use its power to ensure there are no barriers to trade from the North to Britain when Britain leaves the European Union.”

She also called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to raise the matter directly with Prime Minister Theresa May.

While Sinn Fein may be aligned with the DUP on this aspect of the negotiations, the two parties remain diametrically opposed in most other areas of Brexit, including Ms McDonald’s insistence that Northern Ireland should maintain full access to both the EU and GB markets.