Best way through Brexit process is UK to remain within a customs union and Northern Ireland to continue in single market

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has reiterated the best way through Brexit is for the UK to remain within a customs union with the EU and Northern Ireland to continue to participate in the single market.

Dr Farry was speaking ahead of the first anniversary of the triggering of the Article 50 process to commence Brexit. He said major questions still hung over the entire Brexit project, particularly relating to the Irish border.

“One year on, the political and economic risks and consequences to the UK as a whole, and in particular to vulnerable regions such as Northern Ireland have become ever more apparent. Brexit has posed a threat to the concept of a shared and interdependent Northern Ireland.

“Our politics have become even more polarised, and Brexit and its potential mitigations have become overly associated with identity politics rather than pragmatic consideration of how to best preserve a shared society, to protect and expand existing relationships throughout these islands and to grow our economy.

“The UK Government have at least faced up to the reality of the need for a transition period, but this itself is not yet guaranteed unless the Withdrawal Agreement can be agreed, and this in turn is dependent on an outcome on the Irish border issue which has so far proven to be intractable.

“So far, the UK Government has committed themselves to avoiding a border in Ireland with infrastructure, to the UK as a whole leaving both the Customs Union and the Single Market, and to ruling out special measures for Northern Ireland in both those respects.

“Even the most advanced free trade agreement in the world would not be a customs union and resolve the Irish dimension. And the mooted technological solutions are increasingly being debunked as untried and untested, and I would also add in many respects actually miss the point of what it is that needs to be avoided.

“For Alliance, the best way through this is for the UK as a whole to remain within a Customs Union with the EU and for Northern Ireland as a region to continue to participate in the Single Market.”

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