‘Brexit the big political challenge of our generation’ – Newry MLA
SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty has said that ‘Brexit’ is the greatest political challenge facing the people of these islands in a generation and has called for a united front from all the political parties locally.
McNulty was speaking after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which begins the process of leaving the European Union.
“The European Union this week celebrated its 60th Anniversary and instead of celebrating its accomplishments and achievements, Theresa May and the UK Government is walking away from what is the most successful political and social project of our time,” McNulty said.
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“The UK’s departure from the European Union will have severe and lasting consequences for the people of Ireland, the UK, and indeed, wider Europe. Theresa May and her Tory Brexiteers see Europe as some far off distant land, but the reality for those of us living here, is that Europe and all that it brings is part of our everyday life.
“The triggering of Article 50 is a dark day for this region and is politically unacceptable. The people of the North, and indeed Newry and Armagh voted to remain within the EU. That vote and that mandate must be respected.
He continued, “The UK Government claim that this is about taking back control and building a strong United Kingdom, however this couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite her pledge to visit the devolved regions in advance of triggering Article 50, Theresa May didn’t have the courtesy to come here and explain her position before going to Parliament.
“This should be a wakeup call to those who embraced Brexit as strengthening the Union. Theresa May and her hard Brexit Tories don’t care,” he insisted.
“The uncertainty around this entire process is very real. In recent months I have been dealing with constituents seeking advice on the issue. Some are born and living in this constituency yet travel daily to the South for work and are terrified as to how Brexit will impact them.
“So too are our newcomers, people who have come to live and work here in the medical, argi-food and hospitality sectors. They feel uncertain about if they can continue to live and work here unhindered and if their young children will be able to continue at school.
“This is not to mention the detrimental impact a hard border and tariffs will have on our local businesses or the loss of vital funding to the community and voluntary sector. The future is very uncertain and this is creating untold anxiety for so many.
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McNulty added, “I am an Irish Citizen, I was born here and carry an Irish Passport. I am and will continue to be an EU Citizen who lives and works in a non-EU country. There are thousands of people like me. The EU and our membership of the single market allows for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. This is all up in the air now as Theresa May signed her Article 50 Letter.”
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