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Northern Ireland's post-Brexit status separate issue from national question, Alliance Party warns at manifesto launch

 

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Alliance leader Naomi Long and party members pictured after the Alliance General Election Manifesto Launch 2017 in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.

Alliance leader Naomi Long and party members pictured after the Alliance General Election Manifesto Launch 2017 in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.

Alliance leader Naomi Long and party members pictured after the Alliance General Election Manifesto Launch 2017 in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.

Calls for special status for Northern Ireland post-Brexit must be detached from any debate over the region's constitutional future, the Alliance Party has warned.

Deputy leader Stephen Farry said it was "toxic" to allow the debate on whether the region should be treated differently from the rest of the UK after its withdrawal from the EU to descend into an orange-green row over the national question.

A special deal that would see Northern Ireland retain access to the single market and customs union and adhere to the four freedoms of goods, services, capital and labour is a key plank of Alliance's election manifesto.

Such an arrangement is the only way to overcome the political and economic threats posed by imposing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, said Mr Farry.

His party's General Election manifesto also calls for a second referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal negotiated between the UK and the EU.

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Mr Farry warned: "We must decouple the concept of a special deal for Northern Ireland with the broad constitutional question because if the notion of a special deal gets caught up in orange versus green politics, as opposed to building a broad, cross community coalition behind it, then it will not have that support and will be seen as politically toxic, as opposed to something that is absolutely necessary."

Alliance believe the UK government should make a financial contribution to the EU to secure continued access for Northern Ireland.

Other key elements of the manifesto include:

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Alliance Leader  Naomi Long pictured speaking  during the Alliance General Election Manifesto Launch 2017 in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.

Alliance Leader Naomi Long pictured speaking during the Alliance General Election Manifesto Launch 2017 in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.

Alliance Leader Naomi Long pictured speaking during the Alliance General Election Manifesto Launch 2017 in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker.
  • An end to community designations in the Stormont assembly and the reform of controversial petition of concern vetoing mechanism
     
  • Formation of the Stormont Executive on a voluntary rather than mandatory basis
     
  • A UK-wide constitutional convention to reshape a more federal UK
     
  • Repeal "English votes for English laws" in Westminster
     
  • 20% of school children in Northern Ireland to be in integrated education within ten years
     
  • Compelling the NI Housing Executive to facilitate mixed housing
     
  • Opposition to any potential repeal of the Human Rights Act post-Brexit
     
  • Higher tax rates for foreign companies making profit in the UK
     
  • Reduction or abolition of Air Passenger Duty
     
  • Press for continued UK participation in the European Arrest Warrant post-Brexit
     
  • Repeal of the "bedroom tax"
     
  • Retention of triple lock on pensions
     
  • UK ban on use of wild animals in circuses
     
  • Opposition to Trident renewal

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