Howlin welcomes continued solidarity for Ireland
Speaking in relation to Brexit developments, after the Party of European Socialists meeting this weekend in Lisbon, leader of the Labour Party Brendan Howlin TD thanked European colleagues for their solidarity on the Irish backstop.
Deputy Howlin said “Our democratic socialist and social democratic colleagues from across Europe have shown great understanding about Ireland’s concerns, and they have assured me of their continued support for Ireland’s non-negotiable requirement for the border to remain open. There is likewise great solidarity for the working people of the UK, who are currently being led down a path that will make them poorer.
“As opponents of the EU-UK deal are focusing on the Irish border backstop, there is a real risk it could be diluted over time, if the UK moves further and further away from EU rules and regulations once outside the Union. Jeremy Corbyn has said that he would not negotiate a backstop at all, but that is because UK Labour’s six tests for Brexit include retaining the ‘exact same benefits’ of the Single Market and Customs Union, which imply that a backstop would not be required and that close trade between the UK and Ireland would continue.
“Of greater concern are those hardline Brexiteers, such as Priti Patel, who are attempting to use economic leverage to undermine Ireland’s position on the border backstop. It underlines how these Tory politicians are not interested in mutually beneficial negotiation or sensible compromise, but are wedded to their extreme view of how the UK should go it alone in the world.
“We respect that the matter is currently internal to the UK, as Parliament will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement next Tuesday. But if Parliament votes against the deal, the bottom line is that Ireland cannot compromise on our requirement for an open border and frictionless trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland. We will however be ready to show solidarity and support to those who wish to pursue a second referendum with the option for the British people to choose between remaining as a full EU member state as an alternative to the current deal.”