The Republic, not Northern Ireland, is the country which needs special status to keep trade moving
letter of the day: brexit negotiations
Northern Ireland's constitutional position is now the key issue in the Brexit negotiations.
The very public spat between the DUP and the Conservative Government was deeply unedifying and presents an image of a dysfunctional relationship.
This is deeply concerning, as the outcome of the Brexit negotiations will profoundly impact upon Northern Ireland's economy.
It is appalling that the Prime Minister and the DUP allowed a situation to develop where the outline of a deal was leaked to the Press and pulled at the 11th hour. Clearly, communications between the DUP and the Conservative Government are so dysfunctional that they now take place on our television screens.
The way this issue was aired has also emboldened nationalists in the rest of the UK, who have made clear their desire to effectively remain in the EU if there is any compromise on Northern Ireland's constitutional position.
The Ulster Unionist Party has made its position on the border very clear: we will accept no compromise on Northern Ireland's economic and constitutional position within the United Kingdom. We would prefer to maintain an open border with the Republic of Ireland.
The insistence on customs checks is coming from the EU Commission - not the UK, or Irish, governments.
We have long called for special status for the Republic of Ireland that will allow them to maintain their trade relationship with Northern Ireland, with the UK outside the EU. On this point, the ball is very much in the EU's court.
cllr alexander redpath (uup)
Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council