SDLP leader launches EU Special Status Plan

February 20, 2017

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood launched his party’s EU Special Status Plan in Newry last week.  The policy document ‘Securing our Place in Europe’ includes detailed proposals for attaining EU special status for Northern Ireland after Brexit.

Speaking at the border event last Wednesday, Mr Eastwood said,

“Brexit was a seismic event on the political Richter scale and its aftershocks will shape the islands of Ireland and Britain for years to come. Its magnitude cannot be underestimated.

“However, in the North we are faced with a collapsed government who failed to even produce a government document on Brexit.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Sinn Féin and the DUP seem happy to allow the British Government enforce direct rule after this election

“James Brokenshire does not speak and cannot speak for our people – yet Sinn Féin and the DUP are prepared to surrender him that power.

“The only way to stop that happening is by electing an alternative government on March 2nd.

“In January, Theresa May belatedly set out her vision of a post-Brexit Britain. It is now our job and our duty to set out our own vision as to how a post-Brexit Ireland will look.

“Special status means that the vote in the North last June is respected.

“Special status means that the political authority of devolved institutions are respected, giving them the opportunity to shape Brexit in their respective regions.

“Special status means that our economy, our society and our political agreements are protected. It means that we retain the four freedoms of the European Union and that we do not see the return of border checks on this island.

“Special status means that what we have, we hold.

“The document we launched will be the first of many papers the SDLP will publish and submit as part of the extensive and varied set of negotiations in the years ahead.

“Given the scale and depth of its significance to this island and its future – Brexit will be top of the SDLP agenda in post-election negotiations. It is our number one priority now and it will remain our number one priority.”