The Social Democrats described today’s latest Brexit sop by Boris Johnson as a cynical and self-serving exercise which shows a complete disregard for the Good Friday Agreement and a lack of understanding or care for the delicate balance of the peace process.

Party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:

“These last-minute proposals put forward today by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson are not constructive, reasonable or workable. They would essentially create two borders: a regulatory border down the Irish Sea that may or may not be temporary, and a customs border on the island of Ireland that would be permanent.

“The proposal requires approval for north-south trading arrangements from a Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly which have not functioned for two years and in which petitions of concern have been used as veto powers. There is simply no way that customs checks on the island of Ireland can be the basis of an agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom.

“This plan is unworkable and is not designed for serious negotiations with the European Union. It is cynical and self-serving and shows a complete disregard for the Good Friday Agreement and a lack of understanding or care for the delicate balance of the peace process.

“It is further evidence that Boris Johnson’s administration is not serious about reaching an agreement with the EU on Brexit that protects the integrity of the single market and ensures frictionless trade within the island. The UK made a commitment in the withdrawal agreement that there would be no hard border, physical infrastructure or checks following Brexit.

“The Irish government and EU negotiators must be steadfast in their resolve that nothing can be allowed to dilute or undermine the legal certainty of the November 2018 withdrawal agreement which includes the Northern Ireland backstop and preserves the balance of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process.”

ENDS

2nd October 2019