A year out from Brexit, British Government must bring forward workable proposals – McDonald

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said, “It is time for the British government to bring forward workable proposals as to how the imposition a hard border in Ireland will be avoided and the rights of citizens protected. We need to see these proposals by the summer”.

Teachta McDonald made the comments as today marks the start of the twelve month countdown to the date when Britain will formally exit the European Union.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“We are twelve months out from Brexit. The Tories have yet to put anything credible on the table as regards the very real threats to this island.

“In fact, quite the opposite has been the case. The complete lack of common sense at the heart of the Tory approach has seen them float ludicrous notions of frictionless borders and incredible calls for the Good Friday Agreement to be tossed aside.

“The British Prime Minister is visiting the North of Ireland as part of a tour to promote Brexit. I would put it to her that such a visit is absolutely pointless unless she brings with her a set of proposals which comprehensively address core Irish issues in realistic way.

“Let me be very clear. Only the British government is threatening a hard border in Ireland. Only the British government is prepared to sacrifice the Good Friday Agreement for Brexit at any cost. Only the British government is threatening to raise barriers to East-West trade. Only the British government is muddying the waters as regards to the backstop agreed in December.

“The Irish government and Michel Barnier must make it clear to Mrs May that no withdrawal treaty can be agreed with the European Union while it sticks to such destructive positions regarding Ireland.”

The Sinn Féin Leader continued by advising the British Prime Minister that a serious step change is required from the British government on its Brexit approach to Ireland:

“The Tory Brexiteers had their entire debate without any concern for the impact on Ireland. This dismissive attitude has prevailed to this very day. This needs to change. Ms May needs to realise that Ireland will not be collateral damage. Our all-island economy, our peace agreements, our rights of our people, none will be thrown under a bus to satisfy a narrow, little Englander mentality.

“I would encourage Mrs May to embrace the reality of the situation with far more common sense than has been applied by the British government to date. Essentially, this means that British Government must respect the vote of the people of the North to remain and accept the need for special status for the North within the EU, including remaining in the Customs Union and the Single Market.”