Alliance MLA Stephen Farry has said that as the UK moves closer to exiting the European Union, Northern Ireland’s special circumstances within Europe will become more apparent, and this copperfastens the case for a managed negotiation that will reflect its particular circumstances.
Mr Farry was speaking in the Assembly during a debate on the impacts of Brexit on Northern Ireland.
Afterwards Stephen Farry said: “Brexit will have a more profound impact upon Northern Ireland than any other part of these islands.
“Already, it should be clear that the interconnected and balanced commitments of the Good Friday Agreement need to be protected. This notably includes the rights to Irish citizenship of those both within Northern Ireland, and by extension the rights of EU citizens.
“Moreover, in the event that there are different immigration or customs regimes and policies between the United Kingdom and the European Union/Republic of Ireland, then there will a requirement for this interface to be policed, either along the constitutional border across the island of Ireland or down the Irish Sea. This will create barriers and further anomalies.
“It is vital that Northern Ireland’s interests are fully represented as preparations for the Brexit negotiations get underway. To date, the response from the Executive has been minimal, compared to the coherent response from other devolved regions, like Scotland, so it is time our interests were fully defended. If we do not present a strong case for special arrangements, anomalies will continue by default, and we will undoubtedly lose out.”