McNulty highlights post-referendum impact on Newry & Armagh

July 4, 2016

SDLP MLA Justin Mc Nulty has raised a number of post referendum concerns pertaining to a range of issues in his constituency of Newry and Armagh.

Speaking during the Final stage of the Budget Bill in the Assembly Mr McNulty pointed out that an estimated 30,000 people cross the border every day – a large proportion of whom are from his own constituency – and many are worried about the consequences as a result of the referendum.

“The result has huge ramifications, not only for people in Newry and Armagh but for Ireland. I have spoken to our farmers in south Armagh, and they want to know if the single farm payment is guaranteed for the next two years, they want to know if the export of live lamb to the South will continue,” he said.

“People in our tourism industry are worried about the images we are sending out to the world.  I have met industry [representatives] in Newry city. They are worried about their competitiveness. Will there be tariffs?  They need answers.

“What are the implications for Invest NI? An outcome of [the referendum] decision is that access to the Single Market now has a big question mark over it. Will Invest NI have no certainty for two and a half years? What do they do now? Do they just press the pause button?” he asked.

“I have spoken to our voluntary and charitable sector. They say that, without EU funding, they will not have the funding to support jobs, which are the mainstay of the projects.  I have spoken to our tradesmen, men who leave in their vans for Dublin every morning. They are worried about the impact that Brexit will have on them.”

Mr McNulty revealed that many major stakeholders now do not know the status of their budget: “The QUB cancer researchers, the aeronautical researchers and other higher education research departments rely heavily on EU funding. For us to remain competitive, we need a strong tertiary education system with strong research functions. Who will provide the funding to ensure that this essential work continues?”

Now is the time to see leadership from First Minister Arlene Foster, he said.

“We need to see her plan. This has so many implications across our society and across our Ireland.  On this island, 30 out of 32 counties want to remain part of the EU. Our leadership has a duty to be conciliatory and not triumphalist. The DUP needs to reflect on the divisive nature of this outcome. The SDLP will be there to protect the Good Friday Agreement and to ensure that we get the best deal possible for our people and place,” he added.