Local activists to cross party MEPS: Don’t let Brexit Risk Peace and Stability in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement

This week saw the first ever cross-party public hearing in the European Parliament on the impact of Brexit on the shared future of the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It included local community groups from Northern Ireland, former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton as well as cross party MEPs from around the EU.    

Speaking at the event Theresa Griffin, MEP for the North West of England who has family on both sides of the ‘border’, said  “Thirty thousand people cross the border every day  to shop, invest, work, study and see their families. We don’t know what a hard border would mean for cross-border health services – if, God forbid, you have a heart attack in Donegal, you can be taken to the nearest hospital in Derry, instead of travelling hours away to Mayo. We cannot have any threat to the Good Friday Agreement. We cannot have a hard border in Ireland or any threat to cross border health services.”

Theresa emphasised the close and enduring links between the North West of England and Ireland. MEPs heard from local groups such as Border Communities against Brexit, Our Future Our Choice, social workers and academic experts who gave powerful testimonies on how Brexit could shape their futures. From concerns over border crossings, access to medicines, fear of seeing armed military return to the streets, increased economic deprivation, to lack of opportunity for young people from the threat of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

It has been 21 years since the Good Friday Agreement. In that short space of time, Northern Ireland has been transformed. Membership of the single market, access to EU peace funds and more importantly the Good Friday Agreement have allowed cross border economies and cultural well-being to grow. It has created opportunities for development and cooperation when previously there was none.  

The UK Government’s own Brexit impact assessments predict that a no-deal Brexit would mean a 12% hit to the economy of the North West of England and at least 9% to Northern Ireland. This would be catastrophic for jobs and livelihoods in both regions.

Notes for editors:

1. The following political parties were represented:  UK Labour, Alliance, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Green Party, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Sinn Féin

2. Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU Referendum

3.  Further details on the event can be found here: https://brexithearing.eu/

4. For more information contact Theresa on 07792 473 973.