‘Principle of consent critical for Northern Ireland post-referendum’ – SDLP MPs

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Friday, July 1st, 2016
SDLP MPs Mark Durkan, Margaret Ritchie and Alasdair McDonnell have all questioned the Prime Minister in Parliament on the future of Northern Ireland. sdlpMark Durkan said, “The Prime Minister and his Secretary of State for Northern Ireland do not seem to appreciate that the UK and Ireland’s common membership of the EU was taken as a given in the Good Friday Agreement. “Moreover, the principle of consent is fundamental to the Good Friday Agreement settlement. Now we in Northern Ireland find ourselves being dragged out of EU against our consent as expressed when we voted for the Good Friday Agreement and, again, in the referendum last week. “Northern Ireland cannot be dragged out of the European Union against its will. It is not enough for the Prime Minister to say that the negotiations will sort everything out. We need assurances and commitments around the access and the benefits of the EU for our citizens.” Margaret Ritchie echoed these sentiments. “As the SDLP made clear throughout the referendum campaign, free access to goods, services and trade with the South is essential to our economy. In my own constituency of South Down, Warrenpoint Harbour relies on unrestricted access to the South to function. “This is one of the reasons why communities across Northern Ireland voted to Remain. In border towns, any obstruction to this could prove catastrophic for the local economy and livelihoods.”
Article continues below:
July 2016Dr Alasdair McDonnell said, “We in Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU. 56% voted to remain and now face the prospect of being held hostage due to the mistakes of others who were misled by the false promises of unlimited funding for the NHS and lorry-loads of cash for farmers. He added, “The Prime Minister and his successor, whoever that may be, must have Northern Ireland at the forefront of their minds in the negotiations that will take place regarding our future relationship with the EU.”
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