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Sinn Fein's O'Neill hits out at DUP's continued Brexit support


Michelle O'Neill

Michelle O'Neill

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill yesterday described the DUP's continued support for Brexit as "jaw-dropping".

The Mid-Ulster MLA said there is mounting evidence that Brexit will have “disastrous economic consequences for manufacturing and our agri-foods business”.

She was speaking after Prime Minister Theresa May was warned that attempts to keep her preferred new “customs partnership” model alive are “desperate”. It was rejected by her Brexit ‘war cabinet’ of senior ministers.

The divisions were laid bare after Business Secretary Greg Clark said thousands of British jobs depend on frictionless trade with Europe, in what was viewed as an attempt to revive the customs partnership model.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove risked fuelling the row after describing as “helpful” a Twitter thread by former aide Henry Newman, now director of the Open Europe think tank, which described resurrecting the customs partnership as “surely misguided”.

Ms O’Neill said: “Warnings are now coming from even inside the deeply divided British Tory cabinet about the threat Brexit poses to the economy.

“Despite this Arlene Foster and the DUP continue to toe the line of the rump of hard Brexiteers in the British Tory party who have no interest in the people of the north and who have come up with no credible proposals to protect our economy or our rights. The DUP continue to ignore the democratic wishes of the people of the north who voted to remain in the EU.

“However, their disregard for the disastrous economic consequences of Brexit for the north is jaw-dropping.”

But last night DUP MEP Diane Dodds hit back, saying: “Anyone looking at Northern Ireland’s external sales can see that we sell more to Great Britain than we do to the Republic of Ireland, EU and the rest of the world combined.

“We want to ensure that Northern Ireland is not cut off from its main market in Great Britain. This can be achieved alongside frictionless trade across the border with the Republic of Ireland.

“If Sinn Fein were interested in economics rather than ideology they would also be working towards such an outcome.

“If Sinn Fein were really interested in the best outcome for Northern Ireland then they would be seeking this from inside the Executive rather than carping from the sidelines.”

Belfast Telegraph