Farry says Brexit backstop in economic and political interest of people of Northern Ireland

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the proposed Brexit backstop is not a constitutional issue but rather a pragmatic and economic intervention to protect the people of Northern Ireland.Dr Farry was speaking after representing Alliance in cross-party meetings with EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and the European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt.

“Our four parties have different views and policies but on Brexit there is common ground, which is also the view of the majority of people in Northern Ireland, who voted Remain in the EU Referendum. There is therefore rightly an expectation parties will work together where they agree and from today’s meetings, it is clear that collective voice is greater than the sum of its parts,” he said.

“Alliance’s starting preference is to avoid any Brexit but in parallel with the current process, we also need to ensure special arrangements are in place to protect the common interests of the people of Northern Ireland, which include maintaining an open border and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

“From hearing first-hand the EU’s approach to the final phase of negotiations, it is clear the backstop must be legally operative and unconditional. It must also be de-dramatised – this is not a constitutional matter but rather a pragmatic and economic intervention, which is in the best interests of Northern Ireland economically and politically.

“Over the days ahead, it is important all stakeholders, particularly the business community, make their voices clear on this issue.”

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