17 October 2018
Speaking after the Brexit Committee in Westminster today at which the Permanent Secretaries of HMRC and the Department of Health gave evidence, Sammy Wilson said that he welcomed the assurances on issues that were causing concern in Northern Ireland.
DUP Parliamentary Spokesman on Education, Treasury and the Department of Work & Pensions.
Commenting after the meeting he said,
“Jon Thompson gave assurances today that even if no deal was agreed between the UK and the EU there would be no physical checks placed along the border to deal with trade between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
He expressed disappointment that it had been impossible for HMRC to get any assurances from the Irish Government as to what arrangements they intend to put in place and indeed this seemed to be a common issue with all the EU countries through which UK trade had to move and is clearly part of the EU’s intransigent negotiating stance.
The pro-EU “UK in a Changing Europe” group recently said there were concerns about the continuation of the effective delivery of healthcare, in particular cancer treatment carried out in Londonderry, children’s heart surgery carried out in Dublin and a range of other cooperative ventures which had been put in place between the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and the Department in the Irish Republic.
It was confirmed that since these were not in any way related to our membership of the EU that the continuation of these arrangements would be entirely a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish government.
The Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health indicated that whilst he could not comment on a devolved matter, nevertheless, such arrangements were already in place between NHS England and the Irish government and he would find it very surprising that this support for vulnerable and sick people would not continue. Again, these are issues which the Irish government could give certainty on immediately if they decided to stop playing negotiating games and unnecessarily causing worry to people who benefit from these arrangements.
Once again it is evident that, for purely political purposes, the EU and the Irish government are unnecessarily stirring up fears about the consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the EU.”