A Fianna Fail TD has warned that he does not believe the governments on either side of the Irish border have a comprehensive plan for what happens after Brexit is enacted.
Dublin politician Darragh O’Brien was speaking as he took part in a Brexit debate staged at Pilot’s Row as part of the Gasyard Feile, alongside Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson and Tom Kelly, who led the ‘Stronger In’ campaign in the North.
Mr O’Brien told those gathered that the governments north and south needed to work more closely together to ensure Ireland’s voice is heard in the current and coming international negotiations.
“A lot needs be done to convince our European partners that we have a special position,” he said. “I believe we are better working together on this and I don’t believe right now we are, and I don’t believe there is a plan - either that the Irish government have a coherent plan to be honest with you, or the Assembly here or the government in Britain, about what our next steps are.
“In my view we should be strengthening the North South Ministerial Council, the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, which only meets twice a year. ”
Local MEP Martina Anderson meanwhile said the implications were already being felt with university-associated research funding being stalled: “Let there be no doubt Brexit is bad for us all,” she said. “It is bad for students, tourists, farmers, bad for anyone that goes on holidays with E1 insurance, the list is endless. 22,000 groups from the voluntary and community have got access to Peace funding, 24,000 farmers here in north alone get an average of £25,000 in single farm payments, direct payments from Europe.
“There is not a person in the Bogside, Creggan or Brandywell that will not be affected by this Brexit,” Ms Anderson said.