Sinn Fein proposes special status for the North as part of Brexit deal

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson believes that a Brexit deal can be arrived at, which will deliver continuing membership of the EU for Northern Ireland. Her rationale is based on Brussels recognising the North as an Overseas Country or Territory (OCT).

“Brussels has already said that Brexit will not be allowed to interfere with the principles laid down within the Good Friday Agreement.

The Brexit challenges facing Ireland have also been highlighted as a matter of prime importance for the EU-27, within the negotiating priorities agreed by the heads of state last weekend.

“There are numerous examples of arrangements that have been reached by the EU, which recognise the fundamental problems caused by borders.”

The EU currently recognises 25 OCTs. The relationship between the EU and the OCTs is based on EU law, not on the constitutional law of the member state. Their nationals are, in principle, EU citizens.

“The north of Cyprus is a case in point,” said Anderson.

“I see no reason why Brussels and London cannot come up with a set of arrangements which maintains the current status quo, where cross-border trade and farm support measures are concerned.

“Under such circumstances, farmers in the North could remain eligible for all CAP support measures, including the single farm payment.”

The MEP added that both DUP leader Arlene Foster and the North’s former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness had agreed to the principle of Northern Ireland receiving special status within whatever final Brexit deal is arrived at.

“It is vitally important that farmers in the North remain eligible for the various CAP support schemes. The figures show that the single payment alone accounts for 85% of the actual farm income generated by producers in the North.

“If this were to be removed, then the consequences for the industry would be extremely serious.”