01/02/2019

NI's Pro-Remain Parties Unite To Support Backstop

Northern Ireland's remain-supporting political parties, Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and the Green Party, have issued a joint statement detailing the need to bank the backstop.

It comes in the wake of Parliament's support for the Brady amendment that calls for the planned Irish backstop to be replaced by "alternative arrangements".

With only eight weeks remaining until the UK leaves the EU, the four Stormont parties have reiterated the need to secure the initial border proposal in order to avoid physical checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The statement was co-signed by Sinn Fein's Assembly Leader Michelle O'Neill, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood, Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long and Claire Bailey MLA, Leader of the Green Party.

"We continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit, and any opportunity to reconsider it should be taken.
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"We believe that while the Withdrawal Agreement is imperfect, it will mitigate against a bad Brexit which is being imposed against the democratic will of a majority of citizens here who decisively voted to Remain within the European Union.
 We believe that the 'backstop' contained within the Withdrawal Agreement is a vital insurance policy which avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland. While it may never need to be deployed, the backstop is the guarantee in all circumstances that no hard border will be re-established on this island."

The party leaders continued: "Prime Minister Theresa May and her government in their attempts to abandon the 'backstop' have demonstrated an enormous act of bad faith.
 It will put at real risk the interests, rights and entitlements of the citizens, households, businesses and the Good Friday Agreement endorsed overwhelmingly in 1998.


"While Westminster has voted this week against a No Deal Brexit, it is non-legally binding, and therefore no steps have yet been taken to prevent a catastrophic crash out from the EU on 29 March.
 The EU has been crystal clear in stating that they will not reopen the negotiation on the Withdrawal Agreement, including the 'backstop'. We urge the EU to remain firm in that position and call on the British Government to reconsider the reckless path that they have adopted."



(JG/CM)

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