Using her maiden speech at Belfast City Council’s special meeting on Monday night to second a motion on the impact of Brexit, the South Belfast Councillor said it’s hard to see the positive side of Brexit, especially with the ‘astounding’ lack of leadership currently being shown by the First Minister.
Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “I want to recognise the 56 percent of people in Northern Ireland who believed it was in the best interests of the lives and livelihoods of people here to remain. They are deeply concerned and their voices must be heard.
“There are so many unanswered questions – is it inevitable border control of some sort will be implemented? How will we now attract inward investment? How will we replace the funds secured from Europe for our voluntary and community sector?
“Unlike Scotland – were Nicola Sturgeon has made it clear she’ll be fighting for the best for all her citizens – Northern Ireland has been let down by its political leaders.
“On one hand we have Martin McGuinness immediately calling for a border poll and on the other we have Arlene Foster, the leader of the party with the five point plan who clearly doesn’t even have a one point plan for how Northern Ireland will function outside the EU.
“Northern Ireland voted to remain and all negotiations going forward must be based on this, not the political will of the DUP.
“As this debate rages on, there’s one very clear issue to address. While of course not everyone who voted Leave is a racist – the fact remains that this was the dominant narrative coming from the leave campaign. And post-Brexit I’m terrified we’ll see people who hold racist views feeling it’s legitimate to speak them, to act on them. Just this week I had to intervene after a young Roma girl was attacked by young boys no more than nine or ten.
“Our society is changing, it will not wait for our political leaders to catch up. As a Council we must show leadership where it is lacking and do everything we can to reassure those immigrants and ethnic minorities, who are fearful, that Belfast remains their home.”