“Alliance welcomes the creation of this forum and is committed to playing a full role in it,” said Mrs Long.
“As a former Employment and Learning Minister and current Alliance spokesperson on the economy, Stephen Farry has the expertise needed to drive the party’s policy and engagement on this issue in the time ahead. That’s why he has been appointed to this vital role.”
Dr Farry said while Brexit would have a major impact on the UK and EU as a whole, it would have particular effects on both parts of the island of Ireland.
“Northern Ireland itself will see a loss of financial support, losing the opportunities of the single market, as well as the practical and political implications from the return of a physical border, either on the island or down the Irish Sea. There are also undoubtedly wider implications for the Good Friday Agreement.
“We need to confront the notion of a one size fits all Brexit and as such, we support some form of special status for Northern Ireland. That idea needs to be developed over the coming period by governments, political parties, the business community, academia and civil society. It could see us as a region remaining inside the EU or outside with some form of special recognition.
“Alliance will be the largest non-nationalist party represented at this forum but this is wider than unionism and nationalism. The issues facing us all around Brexit need to be approached on a pragmatic basis, completely separate from distinct constitutional issues.”