Sinn Féin Louth councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that advice given to businesses in the North by British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday 23rd August is deeply insulting and displays the complete lack of concern for Irish interests.
Councillor Ó Murchú said:
“It is breath-taking that Dominic Raab had the audacity to advise businesses in the North in his technical papers to consult the Irish Government if they need guidance on cross border trade post Brexit.
“Brexit is a mess of the British Government’s making. For too long the Tories have pandered to Brexiteers within their own party and now to the DUP which is propping up their government.
“It is blatantly obvious that they are not worried about the people of the North, who voted to Remain, and they are not acting in their best interests whatsoever. Any economic uncertainty for business in the North will have a detrimental impact on business here in the South, of that there is no doubt.
“If it proves too difficult for businesses here to trade with the North or vice versa then we will see businesses close. During the past weeks we have heard of the possible catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit on the electricity market in the North. We have also learned that Ireland’s medicine and blood stocks could be in jeopardy in the event of a hard Brexit.
“The British ‘Border Security Bill’ would see the creation of a one-mile border zone where members of the public could be stopped, searched and detained. This would also be the case at train stations. We could be facing the unacceptable vista of id and passport checks for travel from Dundalk to South Armagh or Newry.
“It is almost September. The British government has admitted this week that the October deadline may be missed. We still have no detail regarding the backstop agreement which comes into effect in the event of a hard Brexit. The Taoiseach and his government cannot allow this to stand.
“The people of this border region, as well as businesses that operate across the border need certainty and clarity on this issue. I call on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to press home this point.
“It shows once again that we need a special meeting in September between Britain and the EU to deal exclusively with the arrangements for the north. This needs to happen as a matter of urgency.”
Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has met with the chief executive and staff of the Loughs Agency along with Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú and Matt Carthy MEP.
The meeting, which took place in Carlingford on Friday 27th July, had a number of objectives as Deputy Adams outlines;
“The Loughs Agency was established in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
“It is a cross border body with a remit for the promotion and development of Lough Foyle and lands surrounding it in Donegal and Derry and for Carlingford Lough and it’s hinterland in Louth and Down.
“The remit of the Loughs Agency is the development of these areas in terms of marine aquaculture, conservation and promotion and I was heartened to hear of the team of scientists who monitor and manage fish stocks in the Loughs.
“The Loughs Agency has identified the challenges and opportunities which Brexit has presented for them and I have pledged to work with the Loughs Agency to assist in the development of the agency. ‘
Sinn Féin Louth Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú added;
“The Loughs Agency Chief Executive has indicated issues with office premises and storage facilities in the Carlingford area.
“I have committed to raising this with Louth County Council to find appropriate space in the Peninsula to enable the Agency to develop to its full potential in Louth and promote this county as much as possible.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today joined Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú, Conor Murphy MLA, and Megan Fearon MLA and several other SF Councillors in a protest in Dundalk square against Brexit. In a piece of street theatre Boris Johnson was searched by customs officials.
Speaking afterward Gerry Adams urged the Irish government to take a tougher stance to ensure that the British government honour the backstop agreement on the customs union and the single market.
Gerry Adams said:
“Last December the Irish people were told by the Taoiseach that the so-called backstop arrangement was a guarantee that there would be no hard border and that the interests of citizens in the north, the majority of whom voted against Brexit, would be protected.
We were told we had a cast-iron guarantee that there would be no hard border on our island.
We were told that this draft agreement would be converted into a legally binding text. It didn’t happen.
We were also told that the December agreement would be enshrined in a legal text and that the British had to produce firm proposals for today’s EU summit. It didn’t happen.
On May 17 following his meeting with Theresa May, the Taoiseach said that the British would table a new proposal on a future customs relationship within the following two weeks. It didn’t happen.
The Irish government should not allow the talks to proceed without agreement at the EU summit on the border and the backstop arrangement. However, I suspect they will.
Brexit presents a massive threat to our two economies and to the Good Friday Agreement. The Irish people need certainty on no hard border. That certainty can best be found if the north is given a special status that keeps it within the single market and customs union”.
Louth TD Gerry Adams is urging the people of north Louth and the border region to support next Thursday’s anti-Brexit protest in Dundalk.
The protest will take place in Dundalk square at 3pm on Thursday 28 June.
Gerry Adams TD said:
“Next Thursday the EU leaders will hold a critical summit which will be dominated by Brexit. Tension over Brexit has increased in recent days with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar accusing the British government of trying to stall progress in the Brexit negotiations and Michel Barnier, the EU chief negotiator warning that “serious divergences” remain on how to resolve the threat of a hard border and hard Brexit.
“Last December the Irish people were told that the so-called backstop arrangement was a guarantee that there would be no hard border and that the interests of citizens in the north, the majority of whom voted against Brexit, would be protected. We were also told that this agreement would be enshrined in a legal text in March and that the British had to produce firm proposals for the June summit. The Irish government said it wanted “sufficient progress” at next week’s summit.
“None of this has happened. Instead the British government has stalled and prevaricated and failed to produce realistic proposals.
“This is not acceptable. It is also dangerous. The backstop agreement must be written into any withdrawal treaty. The Irish government should be demanding real progress at next week’s summit. The EU must put Ireland – all of Ireland – first and insist that the British present their proposals on time.
“The objective is clear. The north must remain within the Customs Union and the Single Market and the rights of citizens contained in the Good Friday Agreement must be protected. Next week’s EU summit must deliver significant progress. The onus for this falls on the Irish government. It cannot allow the current reckless negotiation process to continue.
“I would appeal to everyone concerned about the dangers posed by Brexit to join Thursday’s protest in Dundalk.
L-R SF Cllrs Antóin Watters, Mickey Larkin, Roisin Mulgrew, Edel Corrigan & Pearse McGeough
The Cross Border Fire and Ambulance Services gave a presentation to Councillors and members of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week.
Sinn Féin councillors from Louth, Armagh and Down expressed concern that the current Memorandum of Understanding between Louth County Council (LCC) Fire & Rescue and NI Fire that has been in place since 2012 would be in jeopardy post Brexit.
Councillor Antóin Watters had raised the issue a few weeks ago following an accident on the main A1 dual carriageway just north of Dundalk. LCC Fire and Rescue were called to assist the Newry Fire Services following a car accident.
Sinn Fein councillor for the Slieve Gullion Area Mickey Larkin said “We need to ensure that this cross border co-operation continues after Brexit. We received a very valuable presentation from Joe Lumdsen for LCC Fire and rescue which related to Cross Border Emergency Planning. He informed us that they have been mobilised to 31 incidents on both sides of the border since the Memorandum of Understanding started in 2012.”
Cllr Watters said “Let’s face it, people from the remote part of North Louth, like Omeath and Edentubber would get an ambulance much quicker from Newry than they would from Drogheda. People in these areas need to be able to rely on these vital cross border services. There is so much uncertainty around Brexit but this is one issue that we need confirmation and clarity on.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan who is joint Chair of the MOU said “We must ensure that response times and access to both sides of the border is not affected. Brexit should not cost people’s lives and with all the uncertainty around the issue and the possibility of a hard border, we in Sinn Féin are calling on the Irish and British Governments to ensure this vital co-operation continues.”