Welcome for publication of Government position paper

16 August 2017

The DUP have commented on the publication of the Government’s position paper “Northern Ireland and Ireland”.

Arlene Foster MLA

Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

Arlene Foster

DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA said,

"The "Northern Ireland and Ireland" position paper is a constructive step by Her Majesty's Government. It is clear the Government has listened to voices in Belfast, Dublin, Brussels and London about how the United Kingdom's only EU land border could be managed after we Exit the EU.

I welcome the commitment to a seamless border and movement of goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is also welcome news that the Government will not countenance any new border in the Irish Sea. 

The DUP will not be deflected by those who want to refight old battles. As set out in our 2017 Westminster Manifesto, we will focus on getting the best deal for Northern Ireland as we Exit the EU."

DUP member of the Exiting the EU Committee in Parliament Sammy Wilson MP said, 

"The "Northern Ireland and Ireland" position paper has rightly been welcomed by those who take a sensible approach to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU.

We are pleased the document reflects many of the positive ideas we have put to the Brexit Minister and the Prime Minister over the last number of months.

The document has plenty of ideas as to how technically and administratively the movement of people and goods can be addressed. It also illustrates that if obstacles do occur, they will be purely political. EU negotiators have used many sweet words about not wanting to disrupt the peace process or damage the Irish economy. Therefore, it would be an act of gross hypocrisy if there is not an honest and genuine attempt to engage in dialogue with our government along the lines contained in this document. Whilst Sinn Fein are doing their best to make sure it is difficult for Northern Ireland’s voice to be heard by blocking the establishment of a Northern Ireland Executive, we have been arguing the case for the concerns of businesses and people in Northern Ireland to be addressed in exit negotiations.

The document illustrates the CTA, which predates EU membership, allowed for seamless movement of people between the two jurisdictions.  Ireland and the UK had different visa arrangements for people from 13 countries across the world.  There is no reason why leaving the EU should present any difficulties on movement of people.

We welcome the proposal to exempt small businesses whose trade can be treated as less than economically significant, from trading restrictions. The mutual recognition of authorised economic operators / trusted traders for larger businesses and the negotiations around a customs partnership along with many other proposals in this document show that it is possible to avoid a physical customs border with the EU. It should be noted that the EU has entered into waiver arrangements for Cyprus, Croatia and Bosnia and as HMG has pointed out, a precedent has been set.

We are pleased that the relationship between the DUP and the Conservative Party can be seen to bear fruit in many ways, including in the EU exit negotiations. We look forward to continuing to work as the negotiations process.

Hopefully the reaction from those such as Senator Mark Daly this morning will not epitomise the official view of the Irish government, which at least has accepted it will not be seeking arrangements that separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom."

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