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Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams: Crucial that people challenge Brexit 'disaster'

'Irish interests – of any kind – unionist or nationalist are of no concern to Theresa May'

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has accused the DUP and UUP of 'ignoring the damage Brexit will do to jobs and business'.

Addressing the party’s election campaign launch in Newry on Thursday evening he said it was crucial that people "challenge the disaster that is Brexit".

Mr Adams said:" This election was called to serve narrow right wing English Tory interests. Irish interests – of any kind – unionist or nationalist are of no concern to Theresa May. Her only interest is Brexit. Her only interest is British or English national interest.

"Interestingly enough that’s the same interest being promoted by the DUP and the UUP. Both these parties are for Brexit. Surely by now they see the folly of this position.

"Surely they have twigged on to the serious damage Brexit will do to jobs and business, especially to agriculture and the agri-food sector.

"Will the leaders of unionism admit this? Is the Pope a Catholic? But we know from all the sectors, which will be hardest hit by Brexit how concerned they are. So 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 leader said Brexit will have a "serious and detrimental effect" on jobs and businesses, "and especially on our agriculture and agri-food sector".

"In recent months there has been a lot of talk about Irish unity. That’s largely down to the dedication and commitment of you in this room; and the thousands of Republican activists and the hundreds of thousands of Sinn Féin voters across this island.

"June’s election provides an opportunity to take our republican vision; message of hope in the future, of unity, reconciliation and peace out to the electorate.

"To raise again the right of citizens to equality and parity of esteem and to fundamental human rights. To demand the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. To stand up for an Irish Language Act and for Irish speakers. To stand up for the right of citizens to marriage equality. To stand up for a Bill of Rights.

"But it is especially crucial that we stand up to and challenge the disaster that is Brexit.

"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.

"To articulate the serious and detrimental effect Brexit will have on jobs and businesses, and especially on our agriculture and agri-food sector.

"We are here in Newry. 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.

"Sinn Féin has put forward a viable alternative to Brexit. We believe that the interests of citizens on this island requires that the North be designated a special status within the EU. In this way there will be no EU frontier on the island.

"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."

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