Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: Northern Ireland parties clash over no-deal electricity blackout claim

Mairtin O Muilleoir
Mairtin O Muilleoir

By PA Reporter

The DUP and Sinn Fein have clashed over warnings that a no-deal Brexit could lead to electricity blackouts in Northern Ireland.

A single electricity market operates across Northern Ireland and the Republic. Government officials have warned of risks of price increases and supply shortages, the BBC reported.

Technical papers being drawn up by the UK include worst-case scenarios in the case of a no-deal Brexit next March. They do not necessarily represent the likely outcome.

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir said: "This is just the latest example of the catastrophic impact which the Brexit agenda risks imposing on the entire island of Ireland."

Mr O Muilleoir said costs could rise by as much as 34%.

"That is the kind of collateral damage that the Brexiteers in the Tory Party, aided and abetted by the DUP, are prepared to force upon the people of the North.

"It again reinforces the absolute necessity of ensuring the referendum vote in the North is respected by securing special status for us to remain."

The DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley dismissed the warning.

He tweeted: "Fake news. Don't forget planes falling out of the sky, food shortage, mass unemployment and pestilence."

An all-island Single Electricity Market operates across Northern Ireland and the Republic and is designed to help keep down costs for consumers.

While it is part of a UK-Ireland arrangement formed in 2007 it is underpinned by both countries having ties to the European Union's Internal Energy Market (IEM).

Officials, it has been reported, believe the best way to maintain a constant supply is for the UK to remain part of the IEM. However, they believe a no-deal Brexit would be a risk to electricity supply leaving Northern Ireland "insecure and isolated".

In a worst case scenario, bills could soar by 34%, there would be multiple blackouts and government would be forced to intervene, the BBC reported.

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