European Movement in NI welcomes Taoiseach’s suggestions for practical solutions to problems posed by Hard Brexit

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European Movement NI has welcomed suggestions proposed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to mitigate some of the worst excesses if a ‘Hard Brexit’ is imposed on Northern Ireland.
EMNI had argued a ‘Hard Brexit’ is in contravention to the expressed wishes of the people of Northern Ireland, and that there is now no clear mandate for this.

 Ian Parsley, Chair of EMNI argued that Northern Ireland would be ‘hit hard’ by the kind of Brexit the British Government wants to pursue:

“In February 2016 research commissioned by the UK Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment on the economic implications of a British exit from the EU showed that Northern Ireland is more vulnerable to Brexit than the rest of the UK. We have seen evidence that the loss to Northern Ireland of EU membership and funding will be significant, and the subsequent effect on the economy and the potential to destabilise the Peace Process is something we must address. That’s why any sensible and practical suggestions to try to deal with some of these concerns are welcome.”

The Taoiseach suggested that there can be an EU-UK customs union, such as the one with Turkey, and that the UK could enter into a ‘deep Free Trade Agreement’ with the EU and rejoin EFTA.

EMNI believes that these, and similar suggestions, are ones that the EU and the British Government should seriously consider.

EMNI Deputy Chair, Ciaran Hanna added:

“However, no matter what proposals are agreed, it’s clear that even the best deal the UK can manage with the EU will not give Northern Ireland anywhere near the rights and benefits that we currently enjoy with our full membership of the EU.

“While we are slowly beginning to realise the full implications of the effects of this hard Brexit on our citizens and businesses, the discussion should gain momentum on having a referendum on the final deal, so the people of the UK can judge for themselves just how reckless this Brexit folly actually is.”


  • The full speech by the Taoiseach in Belfast on 4 August is available here:

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