Following the British Prime Minister's long awaited Brexit speech outlining the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, Sligo/Leitrim TD and member of the Fine Gael Working Group on Brexit Tony McLoughlin, has said that “Fine Gael and the Government are fully prepared for the challenges presented by a hard Brexit.
The announcement, Theresa May, that the UK will not seek to remain in the single market has highlighted that a hard Brexit is inevitable. See link below.“A hard Brexit is not the scenario for which many of us had hoped in the North-West. However, Fine Gael will be prepared to tackle the challenges that will be presented as a result of this, Deputy McLoughlin said.
“Our focus will be on reducing the negative economic impact Brexit may have for Ireland, protecting our jobs and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area between the two jurisdictions. In this regard, I am pleased that the UK is also committed to maintaining the Common Travel Area. I don’t want to see a return of a hard border on our island and this is vitally important for the border counties such as Sligo.
“From speaking with the Taoiseach about this issue this week, I wish to advise that the Government have been preparing for multiple eventualities regarding Brexit, both hard and soft.
"Prime Minister May, through her speech, has provided more clarity on what the UK will seek during the formal negotiations which will lead to their exit from the European Union."
Deputy McLoughlin continued, “We must now ensure that our partners in Europe fully understand the complexities which Ireland now faces, particularly in regard to the Good Friday Agreement, and our economic links to the UK.“As a member of the Fine Gael Working Group on Brexit, I am in the process of actively engaging with stakeholders, small businesses, and local communities across Ireland. In this regard, I am in the final stages of planning a large public meeting on Brexit and our response to it in Sligo in the coming weeks.
"This meeting aims not only to inform people of developments in relation to Brexit, but to let organisations and key stakeholders know what our priorities are here in the North-West, in order to inform Ireland’s negotiations and policy planning.
“Public meetings like this are really important, as while everyone is aware of Brexit at this stage, many people are not fully engaged with the developments and how it will affect their lives. The messages we seem to be getting in the media are often both complicated and contrasting. Let me be clear, every person in this State will feel the effects of Brexit, and more so in the North West of Ireland and the border counties.
"On this basis, I would encourage people to keep a look out for notice of this meeting in the coming week and to make an effort to attend if possible” concluded Mr McLoughlin.
Link: Sligo Today 18/1/2017