Foster and O誰eill both welcome Brexit agreement

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Foster and O誰eill both welcome Brexit agreement thumbnailSinn Fein leader Michelle O誰eill and DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Following the announcement of a 'Brexit breakthrough' the leaders of Northern Ireland's largest parties have both welcomed the news.

Both the DUP's Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill have treated the announcment as good news. However, both sides believe there is still important work to do around differing issues.

The DUP's Arlene Foster was happy to announce that the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom will remain intact.

"We have intensely engaged with the Government to secure changes to the document, mindful of the significant issues at stake for the future of Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole," said the Brookeborough woman

"Throughout this process, our guiding principle has been to act in the national interest to ensure the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom is not compromised as we leave the European Union. The Democratic Unionist Party has always been clear that the union that matters most to Northern Ireland is that of the union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

"Contained within the new text we now have clear commitments that Northern Ireland will leave the single market and the customs union along with the rest of the United Kingdom and that there will be no customs or trade border down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

"There will be no so-called 'special status' for Northern Ireland as demanded by Sinn Fein.

"However, we believe there is still more work to be done to improve the paper. Specifically, more work is needed around the areas of cooperation where it would be necessary to have alignment of rules and standards, how this could be effected without staying in the single market and customs union and what necessary alignment may be required to happen.

Along with like-mind colleagues across the House of Commons, we will ensure that there is no backsliding on the promises made about the integrity of the Union.

We will also work to ensure that the United Kingdom as a whole exits the European Union in a way that is of the greatest benefit to our prosperity and freedom."

Her Sinn Fein counterpart, Michelle O'Neill, is hoping for more clarity on issues such as citizen's rights..

The Clonoe native said: "The joint report represents a degree of progress." "However, the report lacks clarity and there are contradictions in the report, particularly in the comfort letter written by British Prime Minister Theresa May which was directed at one part of the community only.

"We have to remember that these words are not a final deal. As the negotiators have said nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

"This was merely a test of sufficient progress.

The Irish government have deemed the principles sufficient to move on to the next stage of trade talks.

"However, the report sheds no light on the future role of the European Court of Justice and in particular, the right of EU citizens in this part of the island to be able to access the EU institutions.

"Sinn F駟n will continue to make the case for special status for the north. This is not the time for final analysis, it is very much a work in progress. A lot more work needs to be done."


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