“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.”