Alliance Party Deputy Leader and Brexit Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has given a cautious welcome to media reports on UK proposals around maintaining some form of regulatory convergence on the island of Ireland, but stressed the need for greater detail and for this to be a comprehensive approach covering the full Single Market alongside legal certainty.
He further emphasised that any such approach would involve a Devolution Max approach and therefore be entirely consistent with the current constitutional position of Northern Ireland and the Principle of Consent.
Earlier this week, Alliance published its own proposals on how Northern Ireland could remain within the Single Market and be a bridge to both the economy in Great Britain and the European Union.
Stephen Farry said: “These are potentially interesting and encouraging developments. We look forward to seeing more detail in due course and any further progress. Regulatory convergence on the island could be one key component of some form of pragmatic way forward.
“However, this needs to be comprehensive. There will be a need for assurances around certainty around the relationship or even participation in the Single Market.
“If this is attempted on either a piecemeal basis or through equivalence rather than being part of the Single Market and its associated governance, it would not provide sufficient certainty for investors and for our economy as a whole. Moreover, other measures around a Customs Union will be required to avoid hard border with physical infrastructure on the island of Ireland or down the Irish Sea.
“Any approach around maintaining regulatory convergence would involve a Devolution Max approach and therefore be entirely consistent with the current constitutional position of Northern Ireland and the Principle of Consent. It is possible for Northern Ireland to be both inside the UK and the EU Single Markets – they are not mutually exclusive.”