Sinn Fein MEP has said an “economic tsunami” is about to hit Derry as she urged people to raise the volume on their opposition to Brexit.
Martina Anderson said it was vital every sector with concerns over Brexit make their voices heard in Europe, to ensure that those concerns are heard loud and clear by EU Member States.
Ms Anderson said she had her Sinn Fein colleagues in Brussels have been doing all in their power to get the north of Ireland to the top of the agenda during the Brexit talks at European level, with noticeable success. She added however that there were remarks being made in some quarters that the different sectors here were not lobbying as much or being as vocal as they could be.
Speaking at a Brexit Business Breakfast event- one of a series Ms Anderson held with different sectors across the city on Friday- the Sinn Fein MEP told those gathered at An Culturlann: “When It came to Brexit we assessed Ireland’s future and whether you could have some kind of a hokey cokey arrangement where you would have part of Ireland in the EU and part of Ireland outside the EU. For us that was a no go area. It could copper fasten partition.
“There is no such thing in terms of Brexit as a soft border. They do not exist.”
Ms Anderson said that the British government’s statements regarding developing international trade deals could prove disastrous for Ireland. She said the EU would never allow products that have not been produced under the same standards and regulations as the EU to “flood its market” through an Irish border that could become a “smuggler’s paradise”.
Ms Anderson said she and her colleagues have had to lobby “the world and his mother” to get the north of Ireland on the agenda, and that everyone was now talking about the north across Europe.
“There is good ownership of our Peace Process in Europe. Europe feels it has made a valuable contribution to that process. They supported, after Brexit, in an amendment that we put into a file: the maintenance of Peace Funding for the north. It gives me no pleasure to tell you that among the MEPs who didn’t support that motion and that amendment going in were our two unionist colleagues here in the north. How could you not support the continuation of the Peace funding?”
She added: “What I am finding is whilst people are concerned from different sectors, the community and voluntary sector, business sector, all the other sectors that have genuine and rightful concerns about what is happening here, we are not doing enough about it. I’m being lobbied from people all over Europe but nobody from here. I don’t know whether everyone is frozen looking at this economic tsunami that is about to hit Derry, hit Dublin, this is coming to Ireland north, south, east and west, and wondering what to do about it.”
Ms. Anderson said those in power in the EU “need to see a demand or hear a demand coming from the people. “We voted for remain and remain must mean remain. We don’t want and nor will be tolerate a border at all.”