NICVA welcomes Brexit deal progress and calls on all to avoid the disaster of a No Deal

21 Nov 2018 Geoff Nuttall    Last updated: 21 Nov 2018

NICVA welcomes the significant step forward made by the draft EU withdrawal agreement towards addressing many key issues of concern for Northern Ireland and avoiding the disastrous scenario of a No Deal Brexit.  
 

Whilst many issues remain to be clarified, including the status of citizens’ rights post Brexit, the progress made by the draft deal is welcome, and the alternative of a No Deal Brexit unthinkable.  A No deal Brexit would immediately give rise to the worst potential negative impacts of Brexit which NICVA has been raising concerns about for over two years, namely -

  • The immediate requirement for a ‘hard’ border on the island of Ireland, creating a focus for ongoing tension and division and threatening our hard won peace and stability. Claims that an entirely invisible border could be created using technology have been shown to be unfounded.  The NI Affairs Committees concluded in March after an in-depth investigation that, ‘We have ………had no visibility of any technical solutions, anywhere in the world, beyond the aspirational, that would remove the need for physical infrastructure at the border.”
  • Immediate increased costs, restrictions and uncertainties for the NI economy and public finances.  This includes new barriers to cross-border and wider trade with the EU which accounts for 60% of NI’s exports[1], and uncertainty over the loss of the c.£500M/yr of EU funding and farming subsidy payments which NI currently receives.  87% of farming income in Northern Ireland comes from EU CAP subsidy payments.  This represents a major gap to be filled from already overstretched public budgets.
  • The immediate loss of many of the rights of EU citizenship and massive uncertainty about what domestic legal rights protections will remain, including rights and protections guaranteed under the Good Friday Agreement
  • An end to the current underpinning basis for cross-border/all island healthcare provision, whether for emergency or planned treatments, and no clarity about what health services will be accessible to citizens across the border.  Many in the health sector also fear potential shortages of drugs and delays in receiving new drugs licensed by the EU, once the EU licensing function leaves its current home in the UK
  • An end to EU environmental standards and protections and their legal enforcement to manage the many aspects of our environment that span borders including the water quality of our rivers and seas, the disposal of waste and the protection of our wildlife, with no clarity about, and limited plans for what will replace these

NICVA calls on the UK government to avoid No deal at all costs and indeed any Brexit deal that would leave Northern Ireland (and the UK) to suffer the substantial negative effects above.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmniaf/48/4804.htm

geoff.nuttall@nicva.org's picture
by Geoff Nuttall

Head of Policy and Public Affairs

[email protected]