Having consistently highlighted the major implications for the UK as whole and in particular Northern Ireland as the formal process for leaving the EU begins, Dr Farry reiterated the need for Northern Ireland to be granted special status, along with a clear negotiating framework in place for any future Executive.
Stephen Farry MLA said: “This is a sad day for the UK as a whole and for Northern Ireland in particular. I am convinced that Brexit will be seen as a major mistake and indeed a tragedy. In all eventualities, we will be worse off out of the European Union. The triggering of Article 50 comes in the context of huge uncertainty over what future arrangements could be and even what is in the UK’s interests.
“For Northern Ireland, the political, economic and financial consequences will be especially severe. Northern Ireland only works on the basis of sharing, integration and interdependence, but Brexit entails erecting barriers and division. The implications of a hard border on the island if the UK leaves the Customs Union will be very challenging.
“Alliance supports special status for Northern Ireland, or at least some form of special deal to manage our particular circumstances. To make any headway on this, as a start, we need a stable and functioning Executive and a plan. Within the current talks, Alliance is stressing the importance of agreement around a negotiating position, and has tabled a paper in that regard.”