DUP rejection of soft UK Brexit must mean NI special deal

Alliance Party Deputy Leader and Brexit Spokesperson, Stephen Farry MLA, has expressed disappointment that the DUP in supporting the Government over the EU Withdrawal Agreement are undermining the political and economic interests of Northern Ireland, stressing that any rejection of any soft Brexit UK-wide must entail special arrangements for Northern Ireland.

He added: “Over the next two days, the House of Commons has the chance to change the course of Brexit.

“The DUP are set to support the Government and in doing so play a decisive role in undermining a soft Brexit. Furthermore, they will be acting contrary to the economic interests and political cohesion of Northern Ireland.

“Brexit poses a huge challenge to Northern Ireland. We only work based on sharing and interdependence, and our economy needs both the east-west and north-south dimensions for sales and supply chains.

“There are essentially two routes to protecting the interests of Northern Ireland. The first is through a soft Brexit which is much more in keeping with the interests of the UK economy as a whole and reduces the risk of the Good Friday Agreement being unpicked.

“However, if that is ruled out then the only option is for a special deal to be put in place for Northern Ireland. There could be significant advantages to that for this region. The DUP has set their face against the current EU backstop. But the only choice left for the Government would be to take that backstop and build upon it or to see the Brexit negotiations collapse and have an economic catastrophe unfold from a no deal scenario.

“Alliance has been consistent in advocating that if soft Brexit UK-wide is not possible, then Northern Ireland must have a special deal. Any such arrangement would be a pragmatic response consistent with the Good Friday Agreement and the Principle of Consent.”

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