“This announcement poses major implications for the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland, as well as the implementation of the EU/UK joint report from phase one of the Brexit negotiations. A hard border can only be avoided if the UK as a whole or Northern Ireland as a specific region is part of the same customs arrangement as the rest of the EU,” he said.
“It must be clearly understood continued participation in the Single Market, either by the UK or specifically Northern Ireland, as Alliance has proposed, is essential to not only avoiding a hard border but also to protect north-south co-operation and the all-island economy.
“This decision also goes completely against the advice of the business community UK-wide and ignores the implications of the Government’s own economic analysis. The departure from the EU customs arrangements would separate the UK from its nearest and largest trading partner, and would be hugely counterproductive to our economic well-being.
“Alliance is clear there is a trilemma – the UK Government cannot say they are committed to avoiding a hard border, say they are committed to leaving both the Customs Union and the Single Market, and also ruling out such special measures for Northern Ireland. They are contradictory and the Government has now entrenched itself around mutually incompatible objectives.”