05 April 2017
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has said any solution to challenges presented by Brexit to the land border with the Republic of Ireland must minimise disruption but respect that Northern Ireland’s future lies outside the European Union.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Commenting after addressing MEPs in Strasbourg, Mrs Dodds said:
“The triggering of Article 50 was a good day for democracy in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister upheld the democratic result of the referendum when the UK voted decisively to leave to the EU last June.
I respect that for many there is a genuine disappointment, maybe some sadness, and even anger. In the negotiation to come - on all sides - emotion must be tempered by a practical and positive willingness to find common ground. We have an opportunity to write a new chapter on cooperation in trade, security and prosperity.
Whilst I have many difficulties European Parliament’s Brexit resolution, not least on the prospect of a divorce bill and limiting talks on future trade relations.
I am pleased that it recognises Northern Ireland’s unique position in respect of our land-border with the Republic of Ireland. Both the UK and Irish Governments have said there will no return to a hard border and the Council’s draft guidelines pledge a ‘flexible and imaginative’ approach. These commitments are welcome, however any solution must also respect that Northern Ireland will be an integral part of an independent United Kingdom. It is positive that the positions adopted by the European Parliament and Council do not give credence to a doomed prospect of a ‘special designated status’ that would keep Northern Ireland in the EU while the rest of the UK leaves.
I hear and appreciate support for the peace process in Brussels, and the greatest support will come from stable government. The DUP pledges to work hard to ensure that during ongoing talks and the outcome of Brexit we represent the best interests of Northern Ireland.”