Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice and Equality Martin Kenny TD has said that Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals are ‘neither viable nor acceptable’.
He said that the so-called ‘workable alternative’ to the backstop presented by the British government amounts to a set of proposals that are “dangerous and reckless” and “play fast and loose with the Good Friday Agreement”.
Teachta Kenny said:
“Yesterday, Boris Johnson presented his so-called ‘workable alternative’ to the ‘backstop’, but the reality is that his proposals amount to a set of dangerous and reckless propositions that play fast and loose with the Good Friday Agreement.
“What we need on this island – north and south – is to ensure that there is no hard border, that our all-island economy is protected and that the Good Friday Agreement is defended.
“What’s now on the table does none of those things and there is cross-community, cross-party consensus on this matter across the island; with the exception of the DUP.
“The reality is that what Boris Johnson has presented is unworkable.
“These are time-limited arrangements that are subject to a DUP veto, which they will exercise. Make no doubt about that.
“It’s ironic that the British government would choose to use the phrase ‘renewable democratic consent’ to describe the role of the Assembly in these proposals, given that no part of Ireland has consented to Brexit. The people of the north voted to remain and that can’t be stressed enough.
“The proposal to give the Assembly the power to decide the type of arrangements that are put in place – and how long they will last – will afford the DUP a veto through abusing the mechanism of the Petition of Concern, as they have done on countless occasions previously. “This is entirely unacceptable and a flagrant abuse of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Any arrangement that can be vetoed, blocked or stalled by the DUP is a non-runner and Sinn Féin will never agree to this.
“I would challenge the Irish government to make it clear this afternoon that Boris Johnson’s proposals, as currently constituted, are neither viable nor acceptable.”