PM needs to close gap between rhetoric and reality

Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry MLA, has stressed that if the Prime Minister’s visit to Northern Ireland is to have any real effect, then she must explain in full how a hard border is to be avoided, in light of the red-lines adopted by the government to date.

Stephen Farry said: “There is very little point in the Prime Minister visiting Northern Ireland and simply restating a vacuous commitment to an open border, without explaining how that can be achieved.

“This is especially important in light of contradictory and self-defeating red lines around a Customs Union and the Single Market, or special arrangements for Northern Ireland. To date, the rhetoric of the government and the reality of their positions have been well out of step.

“Alliance will be stressing our preference for the softest possible Brexit UK-wide, but, failing that, the need for the UK Government to protect the Good Friday Agreement and particular circumstances of the local economy. To avoid a catastrophic no deal situation, she needs to press on and finalise the Northern Ireland backstop, building on her existing commitments from December 2017. This should threaten no one but be seen as a vital safety net.

“If this visit is to have any real value, the Prime Minister needs to engage with the full spectrum of views from the business community, civil society and people on the border who stand to be most affected, rather than pre-selected groups at choreographed events.”

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