Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the only options to avoid a hard border in Ireland after Brexit are either the UK remaining in the EU’s economic mechanisms or special arrangements for Northern Ireland, after Donald Tusk effectively rejected elements of the UK Government’s Chequers Plan.
“This Government is walking the UK closer and closer to the cliff-edge. This clear rejection of the Chequers Plan by Donald Tusk is not a surprise,” said Dr Farry.
“It should always have been evident the plan was never going to be workable or consistent with the possible options for a future relationship with the EU.
“It has always been the case there are only two routes to ensuring an open border on the island of Ireland and protecting the Good Friday Agreement – either the UK as a whole remaining within the Single Market and forming a new Customs Union, or putting in place special arrangements for Northern Ireland. Chequers was an ill-fated fudge to keep the government together which ignored this reality.
“Time is running out to agree a withdrawal agreement and transition deal. The exuberant confidence around a no deal scenario fools nobody. People’s jobs and livelihoods are at stake. The immediate imperative is to reach agreement on the backstop as a safety net for Northern Ireland. The UK Government and DUP rhetoric around constitutional threats needs to de-escalate rapidly if the fundamental economic and political interests of the UK and in particular Northern Ireland are to be protected.”