Sinn Féin: Britain must not be punished for leaving the EU

Party’s Brexit policy calls for trade deal to be put in place before UK leaves EU

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, gave the opening speech at The Irish Times Economic Summit 2017 in association with Deloitte. Video: Barry Cronin

 

Sinn Féin has insisted Britain should not be punished for leaving the European Union and has called for a new “Brexit solidarity fund” to help regions likely to be severely impacted.

The party’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty called for a trade deal with Britain to be put in place before the United Kingdom left the EU when he launched Sinn Féin’s Brexit policy on Wednesday morning.

“Regardless of the political outcome of Brexit, Britain and Ireland will remain important trading partners. Any temptation for the EU to ‘punish’ Britain must be resisted,” the document said.

Sinn Féin has clashed with the Government on its approach to the negotiations around Brexit. The document, ‘How Ireland and the EU can fight the economic impact of Brexit north and south,’ outlines a series of economic priorities.

As well as attempting to secure designated “special status” within the EU for Northern Ireland, the party is arguing Ireland should be exempted from State Aid rules for spending and investment required to offset “the damage of Brexit”.

The party has also called for a commitment that EU PEACE funding, an initiative designed to support reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Republic’s border region, would continue beyond 2020.

A review of the EU’s transport and energy infrastructure programmes is also proposed to prioritise projects in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Mr Doherty and the North’s former infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard launched the policy in Carlingford, Co Louth, on Wednesday morning.

Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill told the Irish Times Economic Summit this week that Brexit was “a reckless British Tory agenda” that would have “devastating effects”.

She said British prime minister Theresa May had “no regard” for the people of Ireland.

Ms O’Neill also said Ireland needed to lose its reputation as a “tax avoidance facilitator”.