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20/03/2017

Triggering Article 50 Is Leading The UK Over A Cliff Edge - Farry

Alliance MLA Stephen Farry has said the triggering of Article 50 is leading the UK over a cliff-edge, after the Prime Minister said she would start the process next week.

The two-year procedure will begin on Wednesday, 29 March.

Dr Farry said: "Once Article 50 is triggered, the UK is severing its relationship with the EU, and there are no guarantees of what any replacement will be. The future relationship, including any extension of the UK's membership, will now be in the hands of the remaining 27 member states. But Alliance is clear any and all possible future arrangements will be lesser compared to what the UK has at present, and is set to throw away.

"The need for a coherent and sustainable Executive to be put in place has become even more pressing. Northern Ireland needs a strong governmental voice to stand up and advocate for the interests of this region. The provision of a proper plan for Brexit needs to be a core component of any coalition agreement emerging from the current talks.
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"However, the UK Government also needs to make a much stronger statement recognising Northern Ireland has a range of particular and unique challenges arising from Brexit, and it recognises some form of special deal for this region is essential to address local economic and social conditions, to protect the Good Friday Agreement arrangements and to promote political stability."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: "The British Government’s Article 50 solo run must be met with strength from the devolved administrations. In the North that means that all parties must come together to adopt a common position on Brexit that defends the interests of people here.

"The embarrassing ignorance of the British Government’s Brexit Minister last week under questioning from Mark Durkan exposes how little weight they attach to the will of people here. The Good Friday Agreement, as an instrument of international law, grants Northern Ireland an automatic path back into the European Union via the principle of consent. The terms of the agreement mean that a successful Unity Referendum would see us re-join the EU without a lengthy Article 49 negotiation. That puts us in a unique position on these islands. It is critical that the spirit and the letter of the Good Friday Agreement is written into any future deal between Britain and the EU."

(CD)

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