Brexit paper ‘breathtakingly pointless’ – Justin McNulty

August 21, 2017

SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA has branded the British Government’s Paper on the Border Region as “breathtakingly pointless” and has challenged the Brexit Secretary David Davis to visit the Border Region “to grasp just how ridiculous the Government’s proposals are.”

Speaking after the publication of a second Brexit paper on Wednesday last, Mr McNulty said the British Government “haven’t a clue what they’re doing and are deluded if they think the European Union and it’s 27 other members are going to take them seriously.”

“This week’s proposals are a long way away from meeting the needs of people on this island and this border community. Far from recognising the need for a special dispensation to protect people in the North of Ireland, the British Government seems to want the EU to bend over backwards to accommodate their ambitions, and are willing to give very little in return,” he said, before questioning the government’s “confused and conflicting” opposition to a hard border or customs posts which he said is at odds with their plan “to abandon the Customs Union?”

  “Even the British Government’s starting point – that the Good Friday Agreement is not predicated on the European Union – is a fundamental misread of Irish nationalism. It fails to recognise that a primary selling point of the agreement for our community was greater cooperation and harmonisation across this island and that the people of the island could be united under the banner of our common European identity.”

Offering “an easier answer” to the Irish border question, the SDLP MLA said the British Government could give up its hard Brexit position and negotiate to remain a member of the European customs union.

“David Davis, Teresa May and the London band of Tory Brexiteers haven’t a clue what they are proposing nor do they understand the impact Brexit will have on the lives of our people.  Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator has visited the Border Region, he gets the complex and special relationships on this island. It is abundantly clear that David Davis doesn’t. Maybe he should visit this region and get to grasp of the issues for himself.’