Alliance Councillor Nuala McAllister has welcomed the inaugural meeting of Belfast City Council’s new Brexit Committee – a move secured by Alliance in March.
Set to mitigate the impact of Brexit on Belfast and it citizens, the Committee made up of elected representatives will take the lead in the wake of continued political deadlock at Stormont, with the first meeting focused on mitigating the impact of Brexit upon Belfast’s economy, people and the issue of the backstop.
Councillor Nuala McAllister said: “Brexit is the worst act of economic and political self-harm the UK could have inflicted on itself, and it will only be worse for Northern Ireland, a region that works on the basis of sharing and interdependence, setting us on an unavoidable collision course with the new divisions and barriers Brexit will create.
“That’s why this committee is so important. As a city we must equip ourselves with a sound plan to tackle and deal with the serious impact Brexit will have on Belfast’s economy, as the driver of our regional economy.
“Yet this also goes beyond the reaches of the committee. The impact of Brexit will be felt for generations to come, affecting all our lives – from job fears to economic concerns, to ways we are yet to realise. It is this impact on our growing population that must drive us to action. Rather than simply sitting back and waiting for the severe repercussions to hit, we must work together to take back control in an attempt to limit the damage Brexit will do.
“And at the top of this list must be assessing the impact of Northern Ireland being outside the Single Market on the Service sector in Belfast. Services are the biggest component of the Northern Ireland economy and within that concentrated in the Belfast area. We need to establish exactly how exports to the EU and Republic of Ireland will look in the post-Brexit era, not simply relying on government claims that it will be seeking service-led deals elsewhere in the world.
“This affects everyone. Today was the first step in ensuring we are prepared for the post March 2019 landscape and I look forward to working alongside other elected representatives in City Hall to strengthen Belfast’s future.”