‘JMC Talks are a missed opportunity without mutual engagement on Special Status’

Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has cautioned the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting on Brexit today will have limited impact on addressing the special circumstances faced by Northern Ireland.

Dr Farry said there were a number of weaknesses in the divided approach being taken by both the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, as Prime Minister Theresa May said she was offering a “direct line” to Brexit Secretary David Davis ahead of Brexit negotiations.

“The JMC is a missed opportunity, as participants on both sides of the table have failed so far to fully recognise the particular circumstances of and the challenges for Northern Ireland. A direct line to the Brexit Secretary is not sufficient,” he said.

“The UK Government is wedded to a one-size fits all and is only paying lip-service to the concerns expressed to date from Scottish and Welsh Governments, and the lowest common denominator agreement approach from the Executive. At the same time, the Executive does not have a common position around key issues around continued participation in the Single Market and the advocacy of some form of Special Status for the region.

“For Alliance, there is simply no escape from the responsibility to put in place some form of special arrangements for Northern Ireland. Already, people born in Northern Ireland have the right to determine their own constitutional status, and they have the right to be Irish citizens, and therefore EU citizens. We have large parts of our economy, such as agri-food, which are organised on a north – south basis, and the finely-balanced Good Friday Agreement must be protected.

“The choice is not between a one size fits all Brexit or Special Status, the choice is between a negotiated Special Status or Northern Ireland remaining a massive anomaly. We need governments across the board to acknowledge these realities as soon as possible if we are to maximise the prospects of a positive outcome.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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