June 12, 2020
Careless and shameful of British Government not to seek Brexit extension – O’Neill

Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill said today it is completely careless and shameful that the British government has not sought  an extension to the Brexit transition from the EU and has shown a complete disregard for the economy in the north.

Michelle O’Neill was speaking after she participated in meeting of the British Government-EU Joint Committee today on the implementation of the Irish Protocol, alongside Arlene Foster as Joint Heads of Government, EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier, European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and British Minister Michael Gove MP.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“The Protocol on Ireland recognises our unique circumstances on this island, and its full implementation is not negotiable.

“It avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, and safeguards the all-Ireland economy and the Good Friday Agreement.

“Sinn Féin both inside and outside the Executive want to ensure that Protocol is delivered upon by the British Government, and in a way which minimises disruption and provides workable solutions which keeps trade moving and the cost of doing business down. 

“I made clear today that it is obvious that the EU does not feel sufficient progress has been made by the British government on implementing its Protocol obligations. 

“It is completely careless and shameful for the British government not to seek an extension to the transition period and it shows complete disregard for our local economy, which is facing a huge shock as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The fact the British Government is refusing to allow the European Commission to open a technical office in Belfast to monitor the implementation of the Protocol speaks volumes.

 “Today I dissociated Sinn Féin from the British Government’s approach on both the issue of not seeking an extension and the needless blocking of the Belfast office.

“There is an urgent need for the British Government to fulfil its obligations which it entered into when negotiating the Withdrawal Agreement and which entered into force on 1 February 2020.”

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