Brexit- Not the End But a Turning Point -O'Neill
Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O'Neill
On New Years Eve the trade deal between the British government and the EU came into effect. This is another key point in the Brexit process. Brexit was rejected by the people in the North but imposed by the British government anyway. Writing this week, Michelle O'Neill the joint First Minister and Sinn Féin Vice President said;
“The 27 member states that make up the EU, along with the United States Congress, recognized the value and success of the Good Friday Agreement. Importantly, they recognized that our special and unique circumstances required a bespoke solution. They recognized that, before the Good Friday Agreement, security checkpoints existed on the border between the North and South of Ireland.
They recognized that the British Army military installations that had been built and reinforced from the 1970s onwards were symbols of division and symbols of conflict.
They also recognized that people's daily life in the border region had been transformed and that the invisible border on the island of Ireland had become the greatest symbol of peace.
Thankfully, our international allies recognized that any reversal of any of that would have had hugely adverse economic, social, political, and security impacts on people in the border communities and across the island as a whole.
The pro-remain parties in the assembly, with others, have successfully defended the interests of citizens, workers, businesses, and civic society by working together to protect the peace, jobs, economic stability, and people's livelihoods. That is reflected in the Irish protocol. It is the solution to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. It protects the all-Ireland economy and the GFA, in all of its parts, gives us access to the EU single market and the British internal market, and keeps the North aligned to the EU on regulations and standards.
The protocol is secured and will be implemented in full and operational from 1 January 2021.
The fine detail of the recently agreed trade and cooperation agreement has to be carefully analyzed, there will be relief that a trade deal has been agreed, that special arrangements have been secured for the island of Ireland, as encapsulated in the Irish protocol, and that that will be implemented in full.
This is not the end of the road; it is a turning point. It is a defining moment in the history of Ireland. The future belongs to us all. I have described it as the decade of opportunity, because the decisions that we take now will determine the future of another generation. I want to see, and will work every day to see, all of Ireland, once again, back within the European Union.”