“Brexit is the biggest political challenge of our generation” – McNulty

April 3, 2017

SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA has described Brexit as “the greatest political challenge facing the people of these islands in a generation” and has called for a united front from all local political parties.

Speaking after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which begins the process of leaving the European Union, Mr McNulty said,

“The European Union this week celebrated its 60th Anniversary and instead of celebrating its accomplishments and achievements, Theresa May and the UK Government are walking away from what is the most successful political and social project of our time.”

The SDLP representative warned that the UK’s departure from the European Union “will have severe and lasting consequences for the people of Ireland, the UK, and indeed, wider Europe” and said the triggering of Article 50 marked “‘a dark day” for the region.   Describing the move as “politically unacceptable,”  Mr McNulty highlighted that, “despite her pledge to visit the devolved regions in advance of triggering Article 50, Theresa May didn’t have the courtesy to come here and explain her position before going to Parliament.  This should be a wakeup call to those who embraced Brexit as strengthening the Union.  Theresa May and her hard Brexit Tories don’t care.”

Mr McNulty added that his constituents – ranging from those who live here but work in the Republic, to newcomers who have come to live and work here – are feeling uncertain about the impact of Brexit.

“They feel uncertain about if they can continue to live and work here unhindered and if their young children will be able to continue at school.  This is not to mention the detrimental impact a hard border and tariffs will have on our local businesses or the loss of vital funding to the community and voluntary sector.  The future is very uncertain and this is creating untold anxiety for so many.”

As an Irish passport holder, the Assembly Member described himself as “An EU Citizen who lives and works in a non-EU country” and said there were now thousands of people like him.

“The EU and our membership of the single market allows for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. This is all up in the air now as Theresa May signed her Article 50 Letter.”