Northern Ireland needs 'bridges not borders' - Dickson

East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson.
East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson.

The current Brexit negotiations risk isolating Northern Ireland and harming the future of our economy, East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has said.

The Alliance representative was commenting on the party's recently published paper, 'Bridges not Borders'.

“If the UK is to leave the EU, Alliance argues that it should remain within the Single Market, while negotiating a Customs Union with the European Union that replicates the current arrangement," he said.

“If this is not the case, there is an overwhelming case for a set of arrangements to address the particular unique interests and nature of the local economy. At its heart, this should mean Northern Ireland’s continued membership of the Single Market. Our document, ‘Bridges Not Borders’ is the blueprint for this.

“It is vital that we take into account both the current and potential future nature of the Northern Ireland economy. This includes the interwoven nature of Northern Ireland's economy both in terms of the rest of the UK and North-South trade. Northern Ireland and East Antrim businesses are also relatively dependent on access to labour, which could be cut off, or at least discouraged, by our departure from the Single Market.

“It is not enough to simply shield Northern Ireland from the impact of Brexit; we must think of the future. Northern Ireland has a great potential and needs a good footing and plan for the future. The challenges go beyond just avoiding a hard border either across the island of Ireland or down the Irish Sea."

The 'Bridges Not Borders’ paper can be found here.