“Brexit and its impact on the people of the border area must remain front and centre of political discourse both in Louth and in Europe” Dundalk councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.
The Sinn Féin representative was speaking after making a proposal to invite MEPs and the Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB) group to a special meeting of Louth County Council in the coming months. This future event was approved by members at the recent council meeting.
Council CEO Joan Martin advised it could take until September before schedules are fixed but Councillors pressed for it to take place in June, before the crunch EU Council meeting.
Cllr. Ó Murchú said, “At the council meeting, I stated that while welcoming the recent
event in DKIT, attended by EU negotiator Michel Barnier, this invitation to the MEPs and the BCAB, is about keeping the border issue and this area especially, front and centre of the Brexit discussion.
“We would like to see the meeting sooner rather than later but unfortunately, it is very likely that even if it did happen as late as September, the detail from the British government would still be lacking.
“While the EU Commission and Council deal with majority of the business end in relation to Brexit negotiations, there will be an EU parliamentary vote on the final deal. Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Michel Barnier have stated many times that detail is necessary in June from the British government in relation to the backstop or any alternative Brexit deal.
“Unfortunately negotiations are hampered as the Tory Party can’t agree amongst themselves. It is unacceptable for the people of County Louth and across Ireland to be pawns in these British political games.
“Theresa May’s new position of seeking an extra transition period that could extend until 2023 is unworkable. The north remaining aligned with EU customs regulations and procedures is to be welcomed, but needs to be permanent without the danger of any future border infrastructure.
“This uncertainty and the attempt at kicking the can down the road is offensive to the people of this area.
“We welcome the actions of BCAB taking their protest to the streets of London on Friday 1st June. University College London is hosting a conference, Introducing the Irish Border: Conflict, creativity & Customs posts. BCAB are taking part in the conference
and then at 10:30am assembling outside the university to show support for maintaining the north’s position within the EU.
“Apart from a United Ireland which makes economic sense, the only sensible solution is that the north remains within the Single Market and the Customs Union; in other words, Special Designated Status for the North.”