Arlene Foster: UK must now “get on with” quitting European Union

Martin McGuinness says Brexit is not a “done deal” for Northern Ireland

At Stormont yesterday, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness continued to take opposing positions on how Brexit should unfold.

Mr McGuinness said Brexit was not a "done deal" as regards Northern Ireland while Ms Foster said politicians must "get on with" quitting the European Union.

On Sunday, Mr McGuinness insisted the fact that a majority of people in the North voted to remain in the EU “must be recognised and respected in any negotiations”.

At a Stormont press conference yesterday, he said the British government does not care about the people of Northern Ireland.


Collision course

“It is quite obvious the British government is on a collision course with the EU, in which our economy and successive agreements are regarded as collateral damage,” said Sinn Féin’s Deputy First Minister.

“This is more about the internal division within the British Tory party, which clearly has no clue whatsoever about what it is facing,” he added.

“None of this is a done deal, and it is important that people mobilise in a campaign to confront the selfish approach of the British government, which holds out the potential to hugely damage our economy,” said Mr McGuinness.

In the Assembly chamber, however, the DUP First Minister said the result was binding on Northern Ireland.

Get on with it

“Northern Ireland is a constituent part of the

United Kingdom

, ” said Ms Foster. “We were all asked whether we wanted the United Kingdom to remain or to leave, and we all voted. The vote has been taken. Now let us get on with it and deal with the consequences.”

Meanwhile, at Belfast High Court today, two challenges to the Brexit will open.

One is being taken by victims rights' campaigner Raymond McCord,. The other is by a group that includes politicians such as SDLP and Alliance leaders Colum Eastwood and David Ford.

The second group is demanding that the British government must legally accord “adequate weight” to the fact that a majority of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and that, in relation to the 1998 Belfast Agreement, the “unique requirements of Northern Ireland constitutional law and statute” must be safeguarded.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times