Adams questions May’s Commitment to no hard border

Speaking in the Dáil today on his Brexit Bill Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams expressed concern at claims of ‘new thinking’ by the British in dealing with the issue of a hard border said that the “Irish government carries an onerous responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens on this island, both in relation to Brexit and the future of the Good Friday Agreement”.

The Louth TD expressed his disappointment that the government rejected a Sinn Féin Bill which called for additional formal reporting by the government to the Dáil on the Brexit negotiations.

Commenting on recent developments in the Brexit process the former Sinn Féin leader expressed his concern at the commitment of Theresa May to ensure that there will be no border controls. Teachta Adams specifically raised the issue of rights for EU citizens in the North. The EU Legal Text published on March 1st was very explicit on this but thus far we have seen no progress.

Addressing Minister Coveney, Teachta Adams said:

“Today, following his meeting with Theresa May, the Taoiseach reports that the British will now table a new proposal on a future customs relationship within the next two weeks. This is new thinking he said.

We were told that in December when the EU/British joint agreement was achieved only to have the British Prime Minister repudiate the EU legal text in February. Remember her blunt: “No UK prime Minister would ever agree to it.” Why should this time be any different?

This is the same British Prime Minister who last week claimed that only British soldiers are being investigated in relation to legacy matters. As the Minister knows this is a patent untruth.

This is the same British government that refuses to provide information on the role of its agents in the Dublin-Monaghan bombs which took place on this date 44 years ago.

And this is the same British Prime Minister who has done a deal with the DUP which is taking precedence over her obligations in respect of the Good Friday Agreement.

The EU legal text accepts that the alignment option contained in the December agreement means that the North shall be “considered part of the customs territory of the EU”. It explicitly states that there should be “no diminution of rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity as set out” in the Good Friday Agreement. And it definitively demands that the Good Friday Agreement and its subsequent implementation agreements “should be protected in all its parts”. There is significant concern at the British commitment to this.

In his response to the joint agreement in December the Taoiseach addressed northern nationalist and said: “There will be no hard border on our island. You will never again be left behind by an Irish Government”.
The Irish government therefore carries an onerous responsibility to live up to this commitment and to protect the rights of all citizens on this island, both in relation to Brexit and the future of the Good Friday Agreement.
If an agreement is reached in the upcoming negotiations between the EU and the British government, it cannot fall short of the position that the legal text has established”.

Businesses Should Prepare for Brexit – Cllr Ó Murchú

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has warned that Companies and businesses especially in the border area need to prepare for Brexit.

“While the emphasis needs to be on an EU and governmental solution to Brexit, small and medium enterprises should prepare for a worst case hard Brexit situation.

“Only 6% of SMEs in the South and 2% of SMEs in the North have a plan in place to deal with the possible impact from Brexit according to AIB’s fourth quarter 2017 Brexit Sentiment Index.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise, and the Louth Enterprise Office have been briefing Louth County Council on the twists and turns of Brexit and they were instrumental in putting on the truly informative ‘Post Brexit International and Cross Border Conference’ in the Carrickdale Hotel recently.

“Not only were the obvious dangers to the economy across the island highlighted but also the varied facets of the impact of Brexit; it will have a bearing on taxation, employment, trade, customs, transport and logistics, compliance rules, legislation, importation, exportation etc. During council briefings and this conference there has been a strong emphasis on Brexit preparation programmes that are being put on offer for companies.”

Cllr Ó Murchú advised that “here is a necessity to draw the business community’s attention to these Brexit preparation aids. InterTrade Ireland has a ‘Brexit Voucher’ system which allows companies to engage a professional, to the value of €1,250 to evaluate its exposure to Brexit. Enterprise Ireland offer ‘Be Prepared Grants’ for SMEs who would benefit from further research and may need specialist services in developing their Brexit plan. This grant can be up to €5,000.

“Any measures which may mitigate some of the negatives of the Brexit process on Irish companies are to be welcomed. I would encourage companies and businesses in Louth to seek further information on ‘Brexit Vouchers’ and other related programmes from the Local Enterprise Office. We are very unprepared for Brexit and we are just over a year away”

For information on the Brexit Vochers or other related help go to localenterprise.ie/louth.

 

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú: Hard Border Brexit would be like the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has called on DUP voters, Unionist farmers and businesses to challenge and confront the DUP on their Brexit stance following the debacle on Monday which seen the Brexit negotiations deteriorate into a farce.

There appeared to be agreement to move forward but following a phone call between DUP leader Arlene Foster and British Prime Minister Teresa May, those plans were scuppered.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “The DUP are being reckless in their quest to copper fasten their Britishness. The north should not be removed from the Customs Union and the Single Market. It is hard to see a solution which works for the people of the border region and across Ireland other than the North remaining within the EU. Sinn Féin has consistently sought a Designated Special Status for the north within the European Union and this makes the most sense economically.”

The Louth Councillor went on to say “People will not accept the return of border installations to this part of Ireland. There can be no removal of the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement. Trade, healthcare and communities would be greatly impacted by a return of border checks and stops. Economic devastation to Co. Louth is the only guarantee of a Hard Border Brexit. A Hard Border Brexit would be as absurd as the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall.”

Cllr Ó Murchú called on the Irish government to remain firm on the issue of the border and is encouraging all those who live in Co Louth and beyond to attend a ‘go-slow’ protest at the border at Carrickarnon (just past the Carrickdale) on Saturday morning at 11am. There will be a mock customs post erected and people can see for themselves the absurdity and effects of a hard border.

Everyone is welcome.

 

Watters takes Coffey to task over hard border claim

Sinn Fein Louth County Councillor Antóin Watters has described Fianna Fail Councillor Emma Coffey’s call for a “hard border” after Brexit as “short sighted and a surrender to the threat posed by the British government’s Brexit plans.”

Councillor Watters said:

“The consensus position among parties in the Dáil, and in the North, is for the minimum disruption possible to the two economies on the island of Ireland, and especially to the border counties, as a result of Brexit. Most support the north being designated a special status within the EU to facilitate this.

“The Fianna Fáil Councillor appears to have accepted that the efforts of her own party and of the rest of us will fail. Her stance reflects a recent call by Fianna Fáil for an electronic border similar to the toll system operating on the M50. In the event of the border becoming an EU international border this proposal has already been rubbished as insufficient.

“Her approach is also hugely contradictory. Having pointed out the difficulty in monitoring 500 km of border and hundreds of roads, and acknowledged the thousands who cross the border every day as workers or tourists or to visit family, Councillor Coffey demands that we should accept the need for a hard border.

“Any EU frontier on the island of Ireland would be a backward step and no self-respecting politician who claims to want a united Ireland or to be called a republican should be advocating such an outcome.

“What is required is a political and not an electronic solution to Brexit and certainly not a hard border.”

Conflicting government accounts of Customs posts – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin’s Louth TD Gerry Adams has warned of the; “ruinous impact of Brexit on Louth and the border region. I am especially concerned at reports that the government is preparing for a return of a hard border by identifying locations for customs posts. Media reports claim that Revenue Commissioner officials have been engaged to determine all “legal and practical implications of a range of scenarios”.

“This allegedly includes the examination and identification of locations for full border check points with ‘red and green channel’ facilities in Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim, and Donegal. It is also claimed that the M1 motorway between Dublin and Belfast is to be a particular focus for customs officials,

“In the Dáil today (Wednesday) I asked the Taoiseach about this media report that the Government is looking at possible sites for customs posts along the Border. I asked him to confirm or deny this.

“In his response the Taoiseach told me: ‘I hope nobody is looking for sites along the Border. I have seen reports drafted by customs officials but I have an agreement with the British Government that there will be no return to the Border of the past and that means customs posts along the Border. This is a British policy. It is not a technological issue. This is a political challenge. We do not want to see that happen because Deputy Adams knows the implications of that very well. We will not stand for any return to the Border of the past. We will make that case very strongly and clearly. Nobody I have met North or South wants to a return to that.’

“The difficulty is if the government fails to support Sinn Féin’s call for the North to have a special designated status then the only land border between the EU and Britain will be on this island and that will be a hard economic border.

“The government urgently needs to clarify these contradictory positions. The people of Louth and the border communities North and South do not want a return of customs posts and checkpoints. Such a development would have serious economic consequences for jobs, the farming community, the fishing industry and local enterprises. Brexit is already hurting local businesses and this would make that situation worse.”

There will be a Brexit protest held this Saturday 18th February 2017 at 10am and we urge everyone who is opposed to Brexit, to attend.

Brexit Protest