Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said a new survey on local attitudes to Brexit shows the clear opportunity to create a cross-community consensus around a special deal based on continued membership of the Customs Union and Single Market.
The survey from Queen’s University, entitled Northern Ireland and the UK’s Exit from the EU: What Do People Think, said there was substantial support – 61 per cent – for a form of Brexit which would eliminate the need for any border checks and for the UK as a whole to remain in the Customs Union and Single Market.
“There is a strong central message from this opinion survey. There is a clear understanding from the people of Northern Ireland of the huge risks and challenges coming from Brexit, and support for the UK as a whole remaining in the Customs Union, and if not the whole UK, then at least Northern Ireland, remaining in the Single Market is central to both the future economic and political cohesion of this region,” said Dr Farry.
“Brexit has become a polarising issue within our politics, creating huge uncertainty and fluidity in public opinion. It has been increasingly framed in terms of a battle between unionism and nationalism. Yet, it is clear there is strong support across the community for Northern Ireland remaining within both the Customs Union and Single Market.
“Therefore, it is not too late to devise a set of special arrangements to achieve and sustain a cross-community consensus. Northern Ireland remaining within the Customs Union and Single Market can be viewed as a pragmatic response to an extraordinary set of challenges, entirely consistent with devolution and the principle of consent.”