Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: 60% back special status for Northern Ireland in poll of 4,000 online Belfast Telegraph readers

The post-Brexit border issue has raised many as yet unanswered questions
The post-Brexit border issue has raised many as yet unanswered questions
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Almost 4,000 Belfast Telegraph Digital readers took part in our online poll on if Northern Ireland should have special status after Brexit.

We asked the question on Monday after a leading Irish economist said the Northern Ireland public should have their say on what customs arrangements are put in place after Brexit.

And thousands took part in our Facebook poll with 60% of the near 4,000 taking part - in just 24 hours - saying Northern Ireland should have special status.

Should Northern Ireland have special status after Brexit?

Posted by Belfast Telegraph on Monday, September 24, 2018

"We could benefit hugely from business investment if we got special status. Hard border will be disastrous for our country. It already struggles," said Hazel Lilley.

John Ashe said Northern Ireland could reap the benefits of maintaining ties with the EU.

"If we get special status this place will become an economical boom. Hundreds of companies will want to be here as they will get best of both worlds. Jobs, investment and lots of money rolling in.

"Why would we not want that? We would get best of UK and the EU, why can't people see this! Think of the major banks that would come here to invest. The international companies who'd want to be here, so the could be in both places. Nuts to not take this while it's on the table."

Michael Allen added: "We leave with the rest of the UK, that [was] what the vote was for."

Bobby Fleming said: "Do we keep taking votes until it suits certain people the votes been taken so get on with it exit was the vote."

The Irish border is one of two major sticking points in the exit negotiations along with the future economic relationship between the EU and UK. The EU is insisting in the event of a no deal Northern Ireland remains part of the single market and customs union in order to ensure freedom of movement across Ireland.

However, this has been rejected by the Prime Minister, parliament and unionists who say it will create a border in the Irish Sea effectively breaking up part of the UK.

Dan O'Brien, chief economist at the Institute of International and European Affairs, writing in the Irish Independent, said a referendum may be the only way to "legitimise" whatever decision is eventually taken.

"It might let Leo Varadkar and Theresa May off the potentially career-ending hook that they are both now on," he said.

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