Northern Ireland will face consequences and loss of opportunities no matter the details of the deal agreed between the UK and EU, Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MP has said.
The North Down MP was speaking after the UK Government and EU announced they had reached agreement. Dr Farry said while all forms of Brexit would leave Northern Ireland worse off, even a bad deal would avoid a “catastrophic” no deal scenario.
“There is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit. All versions of Brexit will leave Northern Ireland in worse situation than before and will see the loss of a broad range of opportunities and benefits. These include the loss of freedom of movement and impact on the service economy,” he said.
“A UK-EU future relationship agreement is necessary to avoid a catastrophic no deal outcome. While Northern Ireland does have some protection and even some comparative advantages due to the Protocol, it is only workable in the context of a wider deal. A no deal would have nevertheless created a broad range of major economic and other challenges for our region, alongside the knock-on consequences of wider disruption in Great Britain.
“The UK has a deep, interdependent relationship with the EU. That involves at a bare minimum a zero tariff, zero quota trade deal and given the geographic proximity, that comes with some degree of restrictions. It has taken too long for the UK Government to accept that reality. It is frustrating this deal has come so late both for proper scrutiny and so little time for businesses to prepare and adjust.
“Alliance will be studying this deal over the coming days. Key considerations for us will include matters beyond just trade, such as data adequacy recognition, justice, policing and security, plus access to the full spectrum of EU Programmes.
“Notwithstanding this deal, Alliance will continue to advocate the closest possible relationship for Northern Ireland with the EU, and to seek further flexibilities and mitigations regarding the implementation of the Protocol.”