29 March 2017

Speaking in Brussels, Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin has today said that the triggering of Article 50 by the United Kingdom will usher in years of uncertainty, and  Ireland must prepare now with concrete actions for all possible outcomes.

Deputy Howlin said:

“With the formal Brexit process now underway, and no certainty on what the outcome will be, Ireland faces years of uncertainty.

“The exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will present Ireland with its greatest social, economic and diplomatic challenge since the Emergency.

“We have called for specific recognition of the unique challenges faced by Ireland in the negotiating mandate that Donald Tusk and the EU Council will provide to the EU Commission team, led by Michel Barnier.

“It is an absolute requirement that the special status and circumstances of Northern Ireland be recognised in the negotiations, and in the outcome.

“Brexit will fundamentally alter relationships between ourselves and Northern Ireland, the UK and the EU. It will disrupt trade across our islands, and could imperil the Peace Process.
It will impact every sector in ways that cannot be determined. It will dominate public discourse for the next decade and present numerous challenges to our State in that time.

“Many problems will be resolved as they arise, but there are practical steps Ireland can take to outline specifically what we want to achieve, and what we must secure.

“Nine months on from the referendum, the Irish Government has only outlined broad policy objectives on the Common Travel Area, preventing a hard border, and protecting the Peace Process. We have yet to see the detailed actions and policy priorities that Ireland wants to see implemented and secured during the negotiations and post-Brexit.

“This week the Labour Party published 20 key actions that the Irish Government should be pursing.

“We believe it is now time for the Government to engage in a more practical way and outline clear plans of action”

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