Ford: EU vote leaves Northern Ireland in weakened position

Alliance Leader David Ford has said the UK’s decision to leave the EU will have lasting consequences for Northern Ireland, adding it could take years until the full effects become clear.

Speaking after the Leave campaign secured victory in the early hours of Friday morning, Mr Ford said it was ‘disappointing’ voters had opted to become inward looking, leaving huge questions around the funding gap now facing Northern Ireland, with clarity also needed on the border issue.

David Ford MLA said: “This is an extremely disappointing decision and leaves Northern Ireland in a significantly weakened position.

“While the negative rhetoric of the leave campaign has narrowly succeeded, the enormity of the decision cannot be underestimated and we all must brace ourselves for a major period of economic instability – with the potential loss of jobs, trade opportunities, farm subsidies and peace funding.

“While it was good to see Northern Ireland voting in large numbers to remain, unfortunately it now stands to lose more than other parts of the UK, with this decision forcing an inward looking perspective, risking our economic future and ignoring our role in addressing global problems together.

“It may be years until we know the true impact of this risky decision, which makes comments by the deputy First Minister last week that no planning is in place to counteract the major funding gap facing Northern Ireland extremely worrying.

“Anyone believing Westminster will automatically come to the rescue is fooling themselves and the Executive must outline immediately how it plans to address the loss of EU funding and the growing uncertainty around the border, with Northern Ireland now the only part of the UK to share a land border with the EU – especially if the free movement of people and trade will continue.”

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