Alliance Leader Naomi Long MEP spoke during the plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels today ahead of next week’s European Council meeting saying, “Northern Ireland needs a deal if Brexit is to proceed.”
Mrs Long laid out the three conditions necessary for such a deal, none of which have been met by the UK Government’s current proposals. She demanded “a deal that Creates no new border infrastructure within our islands, protects our economy and respects the Good Friday Agreement.”
"Instead of avoiding a border, it creates two. Instead of protecting business, it creates more barriers to trade and places business in 'Brexiternity.' Instead of protecting the GFA, it places the future of the NI Assembly in even further jeopardy.”
Mrs Long’s full speech is as follows:
“Thank you Mr President - I am grateful for the opportunity to speak at this crucial point in the Brexit crisis. The support of the EU for Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement throughout these negotiations is hugely appreciated by the vast majority of people in NI.
"We need that support to continue.
"More than anywhere in Europe, Northern Ireland needs a deal if Brexit is to proceed: a deal that -
- Creates no new border infrastructure within our islands;
- Protects our economy
- Respects the Good Friday Agreement, both in letter and spirit - a point reinforced powerfully by Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern and John Bruton at my recent Brexit event here in Brussels.
"The UK Government's current proposals do none of that.
"Instead of avoiding a border, it creates two.
"Instead of protecting business, it creates more barriers to trade and places business in "Brexiternity" - an unending 4 year cycle of uncertainty as to their position in the single market.
"Instead of protecting the GFA, it places the future of the NI Assembly - which has already been suspended for 3 years - in even further jeopardy.
"These are not serious proposals: I believe the UK Government is seeking to deliver a no deal Brexit and to lay blame with the EU for the consequences.
"It is absolutely crucial that strategy does not succeed. It is vital a no-deal Brexit is avoided.
"Above all, Northern Ireland’s people, prosperity, and peace depend upon it.”