28 March 2017

On the eve of the triggering of Article 50, the Labour Party has provided details of a Brexit Policy Paper containing 20 concrete actions aimed at protecting the Irish economy in the face of the oncoming challenges.

The plans will be presented and debated at the upcoming Labour Party National Conference in a few weeks’ time.

Commenting on the proposals, Labour leader Brendan Howlin said:

“Every party has been talking about Brexit, but only Labour is proposing tangible actions that would protect Ireland against a hard Brexit. For example, we believe that the €1Billion rainy day fund must be deployed for capital investment from 2019, and a €250 million Brexit Trade Adjustment Fund set up to directly support business suffering from trade upheaval with the UK.

“We are also calling for State aid rules to be suspended for two years from the date of Brexit, and there must be a Brexit Early Warning system put in place, with a revised Regional Action Plan for Jobs to take account of Brexit. An EU-UK trade deal should be an Irish priority, or at least a transitional agreement.

“In a worst case scenario situation where a hard-border between North and South is reinstated, an arsenal of funding must be available to support those worst affected. We will also need new transport connections to Europe, and major changes in our ports and airports.

“The Labour Party is calling for specific recognition of the unique challenges faced by Ireland in the negotiating mandate from the EU Council to be provided to the EU Commission team that will be led by Michel Barnier.

“We support the call by our sister party the SDLP for special status for Northern Ireland. At a minimum, a new Irish Protocol to the EU Treaties will be required to recognise the Common Travel Area, the Good Friday Agreement, and the unique situation presented by the Irish border.

“Europe must also adapt, and we are proposing changes to the Stability and Growth Pact and fiscal rules, along with the implementation of a European Pillar of Social Rights. The CAP budget should be protected post 2020, and the European Global Adjustment Fund should be amended and made available to reskill those workers impacted.

“Ireland faces its greatest challenge since the Emergency, and now is the time for focused action. The Oireachtas EU affairs committee should hold public hearings on the impact of Brexit on the EU Treaties, and the status of the English language in the EU should also be guaranteed.”



The Labour Party has drafted a Brexit Policy Paper with 20 key policy actions, for presentation and debate at our Party Conference in April. It was approved at our Central Council meeting on Saturday.

The paper was prepared by a working group of members, chaired by former TD and ex-chair of the EU affairs committee Dominic Hannigan with input from across the Party. Other members of the working group included former MEP Prionsias de Rossa, Sen. Ivana Bacik and Cllr Mary Freehill, member of the European Union Committee of the Regions.

The paper is available here:

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