Brexit: Northern Ireland reaction to trade deal


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Politicians and business representatives in Northern Ireland have been reacting to the announcement that the EU and UK have

reached a post-Brexit trade deal.

It follows months of disagreements over fishing rights and future business rules.

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First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster

“We have consistently urged both sides to achieve a deal.

“We will, of course, examine the details both of the trade deal itself as well as other issues such as security where agreement will be particularly important from the Northern Ireland viewpoint.

“Given the government’s Northern Ireland Protocol, a sensible trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union was always the most favourable outcome for Northern Ireland.

“Moving forward, we will continue to work to seize the opportunities and address the challenges which arise from the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.”

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Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O’Neill

“While we have distinctly different political positions on leaving the EU, we are all agreed that it’s in no-one’s interests to leave without a deal, therefore this announcement is good news which will be welcomed across the whole island.

“As an executive we will now need to consider the detail of the agreement because there will be many questions on what the agreement means for businesses and citizens and it is important they get that clarity.”

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Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Micheál Martin

“I welcome the conclusion of negotiations between the EU and the UK today.

“I hope that this outcome will now be approved by both sides and that the necessary procedures to allow the agreement to enter force on 1 January will proceed smoothly.

“The government will now consider the detail of the text very carefully.

“From what we have heard today, I believe that it represents a good compromise and a balanced outcome.”

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SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

“While the deal may seek to mitigate the damage that leaving the European Union will have on people, businesses and communities in Northern Ireland it will not undo the damage of Brexit.

“This entire Brexit fantasy is a future that people here do not want and did not vote for.

“A deal is better than no-deal, but the best deal will always remain being at the heart of the European Union.

“That is what our people voted for in 2016. We all deserve a future that is no longer limited to the least worst option.

“People here have chosen a future based on partnership and cooperation.

“The institutions of our peace process are founded on the hope and promise of a better society built by working with our neighbours, looking outwards and building towards a shared, inclusive future.”

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Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry

“There is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit.

“All versions of Brexit will leave Northern Ireland in [a] worse situation than before and will see the loss of a broad range of opportunities and benefits.

“These include the loss of freedom of movement and impact on the service economy.

“A UK-EU future relationship agreement is necessary to avoid a catastrophic no deal outcome.

“While Northern Ireland does have some protection and even some comparative advantages due to the protocol, it is only workable in the context of a wider deal.

“Alliance will be studying this deal over the coming days.

“Key considerations for us will include matters beyond just trade, such as data adequacy recognition, justice, policing and security, plus access to the full spectrum of EU Programmes. “

Aodhan Connolly from the NI Retail Consortium

“Both the retail industry and households across Northern Ireland welcome the announcement of a free-trade agreement between the UK and EU.

“We hope this will protect consumers across the UK from billions in import tariffs on every day goods.

“For Northern Ireland it also means a reduction in new customs frictions between GB and NI.

“There is still much hard work needed on Northern Ireland issues if we are not to face another cliff edge in three or six months and retailers are to continue to give NI families the choice and affordability that they so desperately need.”

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