Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the DUP’s position dismissing limited checks down the Irish Sea and any difference in regulation to facilitate a Brexit backstop protecting Northern Ireland is “incoherent and dangerous”.
“This position is contradictory and self-destructive – the need for a backstop only arises from UK Government and DUP support to leave the EU, and to rule out a softer Brexit based around a Customs Union and participation in the Single Market,” said Dr Farry.
“A Canada-style free trade agreement involves a hard border somewhere in these islands, with all of the economic and political consequences that would flow from that. Indeed, a hard Brexit or no-deal Brexit would be an existential threat to Northern Ireland.
“The backstop should never need to come into effect. Additional checks down the Irish Sea would be the more pragmatic response to a difficult situation posed to Northern Ireland. It is fundamentally wrong and destructive to dress this up as a political and constitutional issue. We already do many things differently here, including economically. Indeed, the DUP have already supported and implemented many of these.
“All efforts should be focused on de-dramatising this rather than turning into a crisis by taking incoherent and dangerous positions. The only path to a Withdrawal Agreement and Transition Deal lies through agreement on a backstop along the lines of that proposed by the EU.”