21 October 2017
Special status for North of Ireland within EU legally possible within context of Brexit
Analysis highlights British Government has failed to offer any credible or workable proposals
AN Independent Legal Opinion on How Designated Special Status for Northern Ireland Within the EU Can be Delivered was commissioned by the GUE/NGL group and launched in the European Parliament this week.
The report, from Doughty Street Chambers in London, explains that Special Status for the North of Ireland within the EU is legally possible within the context of Brexit and sets out several precedents across Europe where states or parts of states have secured unique and special arrangements with the EU.
The GUE/NGL Group of MEPs (which includes Sinn Féin MEPs Martina Anderson, Liadh Ní Riada, Lynn Boylan and Matt Carthy) said:
“In terms of solutions proposed, the legal analysis highlights that the British Government has so far failed to come forward with any credible or workable proposals and that a political, rather than technical, solution will need to be negotiated between the EU, the British Government and the Irish Government on the type and model of Special Status.”
Sinn Féin TD and Brexit spokesperson David Cullinane (pictured) said:
“This legal opinion concludes that Brexit is not compatible with the Good Friday Agreement and identifies a number of possible measures required to protect the agreements post-Brexit. It includes precedents across Europe where states or parts of states have secured unique and special arrangements with the EU.
“Moreover, this legal opinion also acknowledges that the British Government have so far failed to come forward with any credible or workable proposals.
“To date, the proposals from the British Government – such as an electronic border – have been ruled out as unworkable and a return to a hard border is not acceptable. It is clear that a technological solution to Brexit is not possible.
“Brexit is a political problem that requires a political solution.
“The only way forward is by the North being Designated Special Status Within the EU. The discussions between the EU, British Government and the Irish Government must be on the type and model of Specials Status.
“The legal opinion makes clear that Special Status for the North Within the EU must be the political imperative for the negotiations and there is no legal impediment to achieving this.”
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