Farry says Alliance view on Brexit reiterated by EU paper

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the EU and UK single markets are not mutually exclusive after the EU tabled a paper in Brexit discussions which suggested Northern Ireland would have to continue following many EU rules after Brexit if a hard border is to be avoided.

Dr Farry said the position reiterated Alliance’s view a unique solution for Northern Ireland centred around continued membership of the Single Market can be found, which would be consistent with the constitutional situation and the principle of consent.

Speaking after meeting with business representatives in Newry on the issue of Brexit, he said any UK departure from the EU would inevitably entail new barriers.

“The challenge must be to keep any friction to a bare minimum economically to protect the political architecture of the Good Friday Agreement. Alliance is determined to avoid any hard economic border, either across the island or down the Irish Sea.

“It is important the UK as a whole remains within a customs union with the EU. Strong consideration must also be given to Northern Ireland as a region staying with the EU Single Market. This is technically possible and would not be mutually exclusive to also playing a full part with the UK single market.

“This approach could be driven by a functioning Assembly under a devolution max scenario and would be entirely consistent with the Good Friday Agreement and the principle of consent. We urgently need to move on from the polarised identity-based debate and focus on building a solution around a pragmatic, Northern Ireland-based outcome.”

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