Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon says Northern Ireland must be given a special status under the Brexit negotiations between Britain and the EU. Deputy Scanlon travelled to London earlier this week as part of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly to discuss the potential impact of the UK leaving the EU on Ireland and the relationship between Ireland and the UK.
Deputy Scanlon explained, “The meetings this week were extremely beneficial and in the context of maintaining our relationship with the UK, played an important role. The issues of the Common Travel Area, the Customs Union and the Peace Process dominated the discussions and proved extremely enlightening.
“We met with the Minister for State for Immigration Robert Goodwill MP, the Chair of the House of Lords EU Committee Lord Jay Armstrong, members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Nigel Mills MP and Lady Sylvia Hermon MP, and Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the EU Robin Walker MP during the two-day event and it became apparent that the Common Travel Area, access to trade, and a special status for Northern Ireland were the priorities for all sides.
“The British delegation made it very clear that they want to maintain a tariff-free trading relationship between Ireland and the UK and to ensure that the only border between the two States is at our ports and airports. We must maintain the Common Travel Area and the Governments, both here and in London, must outline a clear strategy as to how this can be achieved.
“We also made it clear that Northern Ireland must be given a special status and ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is upheld and protected. All efforts must be made to prevent the return of the border between North and South. Not only would a border have a detrimental impact on trade, the additional cost of controls will push up costs for businesses, and it also raises concerns about smuggling.
“The meetings this week were extremely productive and informative and it’s important that we continue to strengthen our diplomatic, political and business links with our counterparts in the UK to ensure the Brexit process is as seamless as possible and that our interests, and particularly the special status for Northern Ireland, are secured during the negotiations to come”.