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Sinn Fein chief Adams says UK election chance to challenge 'disaster of Brexit'

By Ed Carty

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has called the forthcoming General Election an opportunity for the party to "challenge the disaster that is Brexit", and accused both unionists and the Government of ignoring the "disastrous" impact of the referendum decision for the UK to leave the EU across the island of Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Fein's election campaign in Newry, Co Down, he insisted that the whole of the island must remain within the EU.

Last year Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 56% to 44%.

"This election is an opportunity to put forward our alternative and to point out that the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party are ignoring the vote of the people of the North, their people," the Sinn Fein president said.

He added: "It is especially crucial that we stand up to and challenge the disaster that is Brexit.

"We believe that the interests of citizens on this island requires that the North be designated a special status within the EU.

"All of Ireland would remain within the EU and the North would have full access to the EU, including to the Common Agricultural Programme and the Peace programmes."

He said Brexit will have a "detrimental effect" on jobs and businesses, especially in the agriculture and agri-food sector, and accused Prime Minister Theresa May of having no "Irish interests of any kind".

"Her only interest is Brexit. Her only interest is British or English national interest," he said.

Mr Adams added: "Last June the majority of citizens in the North voted to remain.

"We have to defend that democratic vote.

"Our task must be to challenge those parties that support Brexit."

Mr Adams said that Newry, where last night's event took place, is "a border town that relies on the free movement of business, and people and goods".

"Brexit threatens the prosperity of Newry and of the entire border region," he said.

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