Speaking today from the European Parliament in Brussels after meeting with EU officials, Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O’Neill MLA said:
“This week I have met with our business and industry leaders across key sectors of the local economy.
“As we face the prospect of a no deal crash out from the EU in just over 20 days, the message from our people and businesses is united and clear.
“British government proposals published last week are worse than a no deal crash out and drive a coach and horses through the Good Friday Agreement.
“As we approach the eleventh hour of the Brexit negotiations, we need a deal for the North which includes the backstop if we are to protect jobs, livelihoods and maintain seamless trade across the island of Ireland.
“I am here to meet with EU officials and representatives across member states to reiterate that any return to customs checks and borders of the past on our island would be a serious retrograde step.
“The North cannot withstand exclusion from the single market and customs union.
“I have made our position clear that any notion of a Stormont veto, lock or block on when or how a backstop and legal guarantee would be applied is unrealistic and a non-runner.
“Sinn Féin will continue to work with the other pro-remain parties, the Irish government and the EU to defend business and to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods at every turn.”