Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said Sinn Fein’s publication of a document pushing for a united Ireland risks undermining the momentum for a special status for Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Dr Farry said the discussion document would make it more difficult to build broad-based support across the community for the challenges ahead, adding special status could work alongside the existing principle of consent and approach to the constitutional position of Northern Ireland.
“Alliance fully respects the right of everyone, including other political parties, to advocate for their constitutional aspirations. However, there are significant dangers in this debate becoming conflated with the argument for special status and maximising our ongoing engagement with the EU in the context of Brexit.
“The arguments for special status need to be presented pragmatically and centred around the economic, social, financial and environmental interests of Northern Ireland. Special status should stand on its own merits and be workable in conjunction with the now well-entrenched principle of consent.
“It is viable with Northern Ireland remaining as part of the UK, and in the event of a united Ireland, a somewhat different version of special status would still be required reflecting the ongoing relationships with the remainder of the UK.
“The case for special status is only going to successful if there is a broad-based coalition in Northern Ireland, with political, business and civic stakeholders from all sides of the community on-board.”