Farry says NI Brexit response has many gaps

Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said several significant issues impacting on Northern Ireland have not been raised by the First and deputy First Minister’s Brexit response to the Prime Minister.

The North Down MLA was speaking after Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May stating priorities in five areas – the border, trading costs, the energy market, EU funding and the agri-food sector.

However, Dr Farry said other matters which should have been discussed in the response were not.

“It is disappointing how slow the First Minister and deputy First Minister were to give even a brief response to the Prime Minister around Brexit. But more concerning is significant issues impacting on Northern Ireland have not been explicitly raised. I fear this continues to be the lowest common denominator of agreement from a divided Executive.

“There should be a clear call to the UK Government to confirm existing EU nationals will have the right to remain indefinitely. This will reassure many employers and organisations, and give comfort to individuals and families in fear from the current uncertainty.

“There is no reference at all to the impact of Brexit on our universities, which have a greater proportionate reliance on EU research funding than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK. Our Executive should be demanding a clear statement from the Government that the UK will remain within the European Research framework.

“While the impact of lost EU funding is referenced in this letter, there is no enquiry about when and how what will be lost will be replaced. This is particularly acute in terms of financial support for agriculture.

“Perhaps most crucially, the letter remains vague and indeed points to implied differences and contradictions around the key issues of the nature of access or participation in the Single Market and freedom of movement, which is extremely worrying.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *