Unite Ireland Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, has condemned the failure of the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU to understand the significance of Brexit decisions for Northern Ireland’s economy:
“The performance of the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis MP, before his Westminster select committee inspires no confidence in the ability of his government to negotiate Brexit on terms meeting the needs of Northern Ireland’s economy or safeguarding the interests of workers.
“The Tories clearly fail to understand or appreciate the consequences of a Hard Brexit, including loss of access to tariff-free trade and exclusion from the EU Customs Union. Mr Davis appeared impervious to the specific impact of the re-establishment of a hard border on Northern Ireland’s political stability.
“Thousands of manufacturing jobs and jobs throughout the Agri-Food supply-chain in particular would be threatened should the UK be forced to fall back on WTO trade rules. Such a hard Brexit would lead to punitive tariffs being imposed on cross-border trade.
Getting Brexit wrong will have devastating consequences for an economy that is already struggling to deliver growth in the context of a productivity crisis.
“Our lack of confidence in the ability of the Tories to negotiate Brexit only reinforces the need for local parties to agree the speedy re-establishment of a functioning Executive capable of presenting a unified position on behalf of everyone in Northern Ireland”, Mr Kelly finished.