Editor's Viewpoint: All must be done to avoid no-deal Brexit
As the clock continues to tick steadily towards a Brexit showdown on October 31, or earlier, the warnings increase about the huge risks of a no-deal withdrawal for Northern Ireland.
It is disturbing to hear that the local NHS may be stretched to breaking point, and the British Medical Association claims that a no-deal Brexit will leave "practically no area of healthcare untouched."
It claims the UK is "sleepwalking into disaster", and all this when our local NHS is slipping into crisis. There are spiralling waiting lists, nurses threatening to strike, and patients' lives at risk.
The BMA further warns that a no-deal withdrawal could deter cross-border workers, on whom our service relies heavily. Patients also may have to travel longer distances for treatment.
There are also dire warnings from our agricultural sector. In an interview in today's paper Ivor Ferguson, president of the Ulster Farmers' Union, says: "We knew from the word go that a no-deal Brexit was going to be an absolute disaster for farming."
Mr Ferguson has been saying this for some time, and people will wonder when the penny will drop for those politicians, particularly the DUP, who remain stony-faced in their total support for Brexit.
There has also been a timely comment from the Rev Dr Alex Wimberly of the Corrymeela Community, who described the situation as a "worrying tragedy".
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He rightly claims that it is forcing people to make choices and to be on one side or the other, "whereas before we had the luxury of not having to make such declarations".
Although a recent poll found that 81% of unionists believed there should be no backstop and we should leave on the same terms as the rest of the UK, there are many unionists who fear the potential risk of a Brexit to the Union itself.
The UUP has put forward suggestions to try to replace the backstop, including a new cross-border organisation to monitor and regulate trade across the frontier.
But what about the DUP? The party says it does not want a no-deal Brexit, but worryingly, what is it doing to prevent this, and to influence its Government partners while precious sand slips through the political egg-timer?
It is now starkly clear, as never before, that we need leadership to bring about a creative and comprehensive deal. The alternative does not bear thinking about.