Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

We need an island-wide vision and an all Ireland approach to the EU - Lynch

Published: 30 July, 2016

"The vote by a majority of people in England to leave the EU has created a real crisis in our economy, for our people and for relationships across Ireland.

"It was a referendum that was brought about by in-fighting within the British Tory party, motivated by racists and UKIP. Their agenda was opposed by the vast majority of citizens here.

"People were united in their support to remain in the EU. That position, definitively expressed by voters from across the community, must be respected.

"There are some who simply want to draw a line under the referendum and move on. It is not over. It is a live issue and one in which the implications are now being fully revealed.

"It is up to all parties and both governments to fully respect the vote of the people here to remain.

"I have been speaking to local businesses, groups and individuals and they are all voicing concerns about what the future holds.

"Some are already feeling the effects and we are also witnessing immediate impacts such as property purchases being put on hold or falling through; and local businesses who export to EU states preparing to move to Cavan or Monaghan if the Brexit drags the North out. That is not to mention the plethora of projects which receive EU funding, such as the Ulster Canal, which are now at risk.

"We need an island-wide vision and an all Ireland approach to the EU.

"The Brexit vote presents a historic challenge but also an extraordinary opportunity to continue the process to end the injustice of partition and to build a new Ireland.

"The fact that the border will now become an international frontier between an EU member state and a non-member state creates particular concerns for the people of this island and for those who live in border communities like ours in particular.

"Are we going to have to carry a passport to travel up the road to Clones, Ballyconnell, Blacklion or Ballyshannon?

"There is now a huge responsibility on the Irish government to think and act nationally. The Irish government, as a co-equal guarantor of the agreement, also has a responsibility to defend the Good Friday Agreement and its political institutions.

"Sinn Féin believes that can best be achieved by those on the remain side working together with the Irish Government to uphold the vote of the electorate in the north.

"The British government cannot claim to represent the North at an EU Level. Their policy has been rejected by the people.

"We now have a new British Prime Minister who has said Brexit means Brexit. That is not what the people of the North voted for and Theresa May needs to recognise that. For us, remain means remain.

"Ministers on the Executive should now deal directly with the EU institutions and others to discuss our future relationships.

"The task of everyone now must be to agree policies and strategies to give effect to the people's vote in the North, and to create a new Ireland and a new EU.

"We now need to see full cooperation between the Irish government and the Executive and the Irish government must defend the political institutions, and cross-border bodies set up by the Good Friday Agreement.

"There is an opportunity now to redesign the constitutional and political future of the island of Ireland and of Europe.

"It is the duty of all of us to ensure that these changes are progressive and to the benefit of all the people of this island and our economy.- Críoch/End