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Ireland faces biggest challenge as Brexit becomes reality

Exclusion from the EU customs union and single market will have a devastating impact on seamless trade and all-Ireland supply chains

The Sunday Times revealed details of leaked Cabinet office documents declaring that the British government believes there will be a hard border on the island of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill said: “These reports are no surprise to those of us on this side of the Irish Sea who have been voicing our very real concerns on the consequences of a no deal Brexit for a considerable period of time directly with the British Government and the European Commission.”

O’Neill added: “The island of Ireland faces its biggest and most profound challenges in a generation as the threat of a no deal Brexit becomes a growing reality in the immediate time ahead.

The British Government continues to purposely ignore the cross-community majority of citizens in the North of Ireland and elected Assembly members who vehemently disagree and voted to oppose this unwanted Brexit during the referendum in 2016.”

O’Neill continued: “The consequences of a no deal Brexit will result in a hard border which threatens our hard won peace and undermines the political and economic progress of the past 21 years enjoyed across the whole island, but particularly in border communities which have been transformed.

It will have devastating effects for the island of Ireland and our people, businesses, farmers, workers and communities.”

Exclusion from the EU customs union and single market will have a devastating impact on seamless trade and all-Ireland supply chains, said O’Neill, adding: “Slowing business down and putting the cost of doing business up. A no deal Brexit will mean economic apartheid on the island of Ireland and the biggest risk to the economy in a generation with manufacturing and agri-food sectors becoming the hardest hit.”

O’Neill said: “Staying within the single market and customs union, safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement, protecting business, jobs and the all-island economy and citizen’s rights remains paramount for the majority of the people of the North, and across Ireland.”

The British Government, ended O’Neill, “is dealing with the North of Ireland and the peace process as though it’s a commodity and it is a reckless, dangerous approach to take and one which must be opposed by the EU 27, US Congress and those who value the progress of the past 21 years in Ireland.”

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