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David Cameron's deal on the EU criticised by Northern Ireland politicians

By Rebecca Black

TUV leader Jim Allister claims the deal struck with the EU by David Cameron will bring 'no fundamental change'

Northern Ireland politicians have reacted with criticism after Prime Minister David Cameron announced his deal with the EU which he has claimed will give the UK "special status within the EU".

The agreement reached following drawn-out negotiations in Brussels paves the way for the UK's EU referendum.

Downing Street said it included a "brake" on welfare payments that can apply for seven years.

Another sticking point, child benefit curbs, will apply to existing claimants from the start of 2020 and to new claimants as soon as new laws have been passed.

The UK will also be able to enact emergency safeguards to protect the City of London, Downing Street added.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood criticised Mr Cameron as "reckless".

"The SDLP’s campaign to stay in the European Union started many months ago and we will continue to lead the fight to secure Northern Ireland's future in Europe," he said.

“David Cameron’s reckless strategy has jeopardised our membership of the world’s biggest economic alliance, threatened further economic misery on our already blighted border regions and created great uncertainty for the All-Ireland economy.”

"This week 81% of businesses here said they wanted to stay in the EU, with the re-emergence of a land border seen as a major problem by many. Figures out today show that incomes in the Republic could drop by as much as 20% if the UK leaves the EU. It is clear that an Out would have disastrous consequences for the entire island."

Mr Allister has claimed that the UK will "still pay in £20bn per annum" and there will be "no fundamental change".

He added that EU law will remain supreme and the UK will have "no control over its own destiny or borders".

Mr Allister summed up blasting the deal as "pitiful".

UKIP's Leader in Northern Ireland David McNarry said he believes the deal falls short.

"Cameron falls short.  Nothing on migration. Nothing on protecting borders. No treaty change, no fundamental change as he promised. Nothing substantive at all. Is he closing our border, or has he done a different deal with Kenny," he said.

"Wait and watch the detail of the deal unravel.

"The GO! campaign is active, it is out there and it has caught fire.  It's time to Leave the European Union."

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