Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Newry Unite to host public meeting on Brexit

Newry Unite in the Community are set to sponsor a public meeting event this Wednesday 22nd March as part of the Brexit All Ireland Speaking Tour which will look at the impact and opportunities of Brexit for the local community and beyond. Speaking at the event – which takes place from 7pm to 9pm in Newry Arts Centre – will be representatives who played a pivotal role in the Left Leave Campaign during the Brexit referendum, as well as EU-critical speakers from Ireland.

Speakers for the Newry event include Nick Wright, author of the 21st Century Manifesto blog and regular writer for The Morning Star. Nick was involved in Lexit: The Left Leave Campaign, which is a trade union left party coalition that campaigned during the referendum to leave the EU from a left perspective. He is also a member of the Communist Party of Britain’s executive committee and chair of the Manifesto Press publishing co-operative.

Michael O’Reilly (Dublin Council of Trade Unions) is former Regional Secretary of the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers’ Union (which later merged with Unite the Union) and is involved with the People’s Movement which campaigns on issues such as Irish sovereignty and the EU.  Michael will address the event alongside Patrick Mulholland, who is active in the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) Trade Union and member of its General Council.

According to a Unite spokesperson the Brexit Speaking Tour has been organised in order to broaden the Brexit debate both north and south of the border, to examine Brexit from a left-wing standpoint.

“The aim of these meetings is to examine not just the possible consequences of Brexit for Ireland but the real opportunities it will offer,” the spokesperson added.

“The meetings will also draw attention to the misconception being peddled by the Irish government that being part of the 27-member EU negotiating with the British government will grant Ireland any meaningful influence over the working out of the final arrangement. Ireland’s working people, north and south, cannot wait passively for the neo-liberals of the EU to impose their deal but must instead take charge of the situation, and do so in the interests of working people.

“It is important that alternative voices and demands are heard and presented. There is a need for working people to develop an alternative way forward, a strategy that puts working people’s interests first, a strategy that has the potential to unite people rather than deepen existing divisions or open up new ones.  Demands that can not only unite working people north and south but will find support from working people across the European Union increasingly questioning the direction that the EU is going and in whose interests it serves.”

Unite believes the Left Leave Campaign has raised the important question of workers’ rights and challenged “the neo-liberal ideas and values that predominate inside the EU, which place the rights of the “free market” and capital above all other rights.”

“These issues of sovereignty, democracy and people’s rights are as vital and relevant to Ireland as they are to all the EU member-states. By successfully tackling these questions, the challenges not just of a “hard” or “soft” border but also of trade and control of our economic destiny will be achieved.”

All interested parties are invited to attend this debate, Brexit – The view from the Left, which takes place this Wednesday 22nd March from 7pm to 9pm in Newry Arts Centre.