The days of Britain dictating to the people of Ireland are over and Theresa May needs to accept that reality if she is to avoid a no deal Brexit crash, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said.
Commenting after a Sinn Féin delegation met with the British Prime Minister at Stormont today, Mary-Lou McDonald said:
“We told Theresa May that we will not tolerate anything that undermines the Good Friday Agreement and that is precisely what a hard border in Ireland would do.
“The backstop is an insurance policy to prevent a hard border. It is supported by the majority of citizens, businesses and other key sectors of our society and people.
“Theresa May’s attempt to row back on it is an act of gross bad faith and an act of hostility against Irish interests.
“The days of Britain dictating to the people of Ireland are over and Theresa May needs to accept that reality if she is to avoid a no deal Brexit crash.
“She continues to appease DUP opposition to the Backstop but an agreement will never be found in pandering to the DUP.
“The government here collapsed because of the DUP and they have now brought their dysfunctionality and chaos into the heart of the Brexit process.
“We are only six weeks away from a No Deal crash out. Of course, the ultimate guarantee against that scenario is the provision within the Good Friday Agreement for a referendum on Irish Unity.”
“The four Remain parties, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good Brexit and our preference is for no Brexit at all. We recognise that the majority of people, businesses and civic society do not want Brexit either.
“We have a shared responsibility to protect jobs, economic stability, the environment and people’s livelihoods.
“At the very least, this means avoiding a hard border, protecting the Good Friday Agreement and hard won peace of the past twenty years, and staying within the Single Market and a Customs Union.
“Therefore as a basis for this, we maintain that there is a pressing need for the backstop as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement to be banked.
“By contrast, we believe that a no deal situation would be catastrophic for our economy and society.”
Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald and FOSF President Mark Guilfoyle address supporters at Friends of Sinn Fein's annual November Dinner on November 8th, 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel in New York, New York.
The reunification of Ireland would lead to a massive economic windfall for the whole island while Brexit will have disastrous consequences, a major new international research study has concluded.
The report, ‘The Cost of Non Unification – Brexit and the Reunification of Ireland’ was conducted by a team of political science and economics researchers led by Dr Kurt Hübner, Director of the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia. It updates their previous work on the economics of Irish reunification to take into account the impact of Brexit.
Commenting at the launch in Belfast today, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill said such compelling evidence could not be ignored.
“This report, and particular economic modelling, exposes the hard economic evidence that reunification would provide a massive economic boost to the entire island,” she said.
“Dr. Hübner and his team bring a wealth of experience to this debate and their conclusions are crystal clear – reunification would lead to a massive €23.5 billion increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) across the island by 2025. The vast majority of these economic benefits would be in the North, where GDP would increase by 17.9 billion, that equates to over €9000 for every citizen.
“That is in stark contrast to the economic devastation identified in the report of a no-deal Brexit which would lead to a slump in GDP of over €10 billion. Even in a post Brexit scenario where the North remains in the European Single Market, we would still face a GDP decline of almost €4.5 billion.
“So of all the potential futures facing the people of Ireland, North and South in this current climate of political uncertainty, it is abundantly clear that reunification is the one that not only makes sense, it is imperative if we are to maximise the potential prosperity of all our citizens.
“In the words of the report, unification ‘is the only option with positive net effects’.
“This strength of this evidence cannot be ignored and while we thank Dr Hübner and his team for this valuable contribution, it is a debate that the Irish government must now take a much more proactive role in leading.
“A new generation is already questioning partition, particularly in the context of Brexit, and it is time now for the Irish Government to encourage and lead an informed, reasoned and respectful public dialogue on the issue of Irish unity.
“It is also time that the Government prepared a realistic plan for Irish reunification, including the establishment of an Oireachtas committee to bring forward a Green Paper for Irish reunification.”