Brexit: ‘Nobody knows what’s ahead’

BREXIT: What happens next?
BREXIT: What happens next?

SDLP East Derry MLA Gerry Mullan has called for remain voters in Northern Ireland to unite in a campaign to defend the will of people here following the EU Referendum.

Mr Mullan said the next campaign must be to defend the interests of people who have voted to remain in the EU.

“The people of Northern Ireland have made their will clear. Last Thursday we voted to remain a member of the European Union. It is now the responsibility of public representatives across the North to respect the will of our electorate and to resist any effort by London to force us out of Europe,” he said.

“As applications for Irish Passports grow by the day, people across the political spectrum are making a clear statement that they will retain the benefits of EU citizenship.”

Evidence of EU funding can be found throughout the Roe Valley, including the £11 million Limavady bypass which was part funded by the EU.

In June 2008, Limavady Area Partnership received cash as part of the PEACE II Extension Programme. At that time, already in receipt of £272,000 from the programme, the Partnership was awarded a further £286,000. The funding at that time was divided between a number of groups.

Dungiven businessman, Francie McNicholl, said it is “a very unstable time.”

“Nobody knows what this will throw up. You have to sit tight and hope for the best and whatever comes you have to deal with it,” he said.

Dungiven sheep and cattle famer, Ian Buchanan, voted to leave the EU. He said things can’t get any worse for farmers.

“There is something badly wrong when farmers are losing two nights sleep over a Notice of Inspection. That’s no way to live. We are crippled by red tape,” said Mr. Buchanan. “I don’t think anyone who isn’t affected by rules and regulations voted to remain.”

Mr. Buchanan said in the short term it will be no better, but he believes in the longer term life out of the EU will be better.

“It won’t be a free for all for farmers.

“If we want to export to the EU we will have to meet the standards, but I don’t see how it can be any tougher. No matter what has happened, we have to get on with it and seize opportunities.”

Businessman, Garry Owens of Frank Owens Bar in Limavady said it’s too early to say exactly how local businesses will be impacted as “no one seems to have the answers.”

“No matter what comes our way you have to face it and get on with it,” said Mr Owens.

Financial journalist, Paul Gosling, said everyone has to campaign against the introduction of a hard border on the road or water.

“I think it’s really important for areas like Limavady, Derry and elsewhere that there is no hard border.

“We have to find arrangements where there is continued freedom of travel across the whole island of Ireland and also continued freedom of goods to be transported across the border,” he said.