A cross party delegation from Mid Ulster District Council met with the Under Secretary of State Kris Hopkins following a debate in the chamber regarding Brexit.In July of this year, Sinn Féin brought a motion raising concerns of the negative impact Brexit will have on the people of Mid Ulster. The meeting yesterday was a follow up to this discussion and took place in the Mid Ulster District Council offices in Dungannon.

The Sinn Féin council group leader for Mid Ulster, Ronan McGinley, led the delegation made up of two Sinn Féin and two SDLP representatives. Representatives from the DUP and UUP failed to attend the meeting.

Cllr McGinley said:

“56% of the people of the North, Nationalists, Unionists and others voted to remain in the EU. The British and Irish government must respect and give expression to that mandate. The damage that the imposition of an EU border will cause on the entire island of Ireland is clear for all to see and has been well articulated by respected academics, economists and politicians. It is clear that the British government cannot guarantee there will be no return to a hard border and the Irish Government cannot guarantee it either”.

Cllr Niamh Doris, who also attended the meeting said:

“It was good to see that Kris Hopkins attended the meeting as requested by the council in July, and that he was engaged in the conversation with us. However, I stated to him that Martin McGuinness was correct to criticise Theresa May for not attending the meeting of the British Irish Council last Friday, it was the first meeting of the British-Irish Council that British Prime Minister Theresa May had the opportunity to attend and she did not show up. We fear this is further evidence that this British government doesn’t know what it’s doing and has no plan or strategy in terms of Brexit. The people of Mid Ulster share this concern and are anxious about the negative impacts Brexit will have locally”.

The Mid Ulster delegation argued that more needs to be done to explore special status for the North, reiterated the need for the Irish Government to act in the interests of the entire island of Ireland, and raised real concerns around how Brexit will impact Mid Ulster socially, culturally and economically.

Cllr McGinley finished by saying:

“Sinn Féin make no apology for our continued stand that the best way forward for Ireland is through reunification. We will continue to work for and campaign for that legitimate goal. Those who argue now is not the right time for a border poll are wrong”.

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