Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland bodies in joint call for united front against exit without a deal

Implications: Seamus McAleavey
Implications: Seamus McAleavey

By David Young, PA

Civic society groups across Northern Ireland have joined forces to voice opposition to a no-deal Brexit.

Trade unions, NGOs and charities are among those signing up to the No To No Deal campaign.

Launching the initiative today, the participants are urging other civic society bodies to sign up to a common statement opposing a disorderly exit from the EU.

Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (Nicva), the umbrella group for the community and voluntary sector, is one of those organisations supporting the campaign.

Chief executive Seamus McAleavey said: "Nicva, along with civic organisations, have consistently called for a no-deal Brexit to be taken off the table.

"Crashing out of the European Union without a deal is the worst possible option, the implications of which will be felt heaviest by people here in Northern Ireland. It can and must be avoided."

Kevin Hanratty, director of the Human Rights Consortium, another signatory, said: "This campaign is about bringing together the many voices of civic society and the public, who have clearly and consistently articulated the many reasons why a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for Northern Ireland.

"For us, there is a clear risk to hard-won rights protections but for others it may be something different. The unifying element is that all of those voices are saying No To No Deal."

Patricia McKeown, regional secretary of the trade union Unison, said: "A no-deal UK exit from the EU would be disastrous for workers, their families and communities across Northern Ireland.

"The risk of a no-deal exit is only increasing after Boris Johnson's outrageous move to close Parliament.

"Regardless of the political chaos unfolding at Westminster, the trade union movement and our allies across civic society will remain steadfast in demanding the protection of the Good Friday Agreement and our members' rights and livelihoods."

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