Mark Durkan senior secured right of north to rejoin EU without Article 49 process, says Nichola Mallon

Former Derry MP Mark Durkan.Former Derry MP Mark Durkan.
Former Derry MP Mark Durkan.
The right of the six counties to rejoin the European Union without going through an exhaustive Article 49 negotiation was secured by ex-Derry MP Mark Durkan, according to the SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon.

Ms. Mallon pointed out that the north enjoyed a fast-access route of return that is unavailable to Scotland, Wales and England when the Assembly reconvened yesterday.

"It was Mark Durkan, when he was MP for Foyle, who secured the written clarification from the then British Government Brexit Secretary, David Davis, subsequently confirmed in a European Council declaration that Northern Ireland is the only part of these islands that can rejoin the European Union without an article 49 negotiation.

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"Just as the SDLP was at the heart of that important act, we will continue to be at the heart of that movement too," she declared.

The Infrastructure Minister told the Assembly that the SDLP will now campaign for a return to full membership of the European Union for as long as it takes.

"That can happen through another UK referendum, which will happen sooner or later, and it will be propelled by the experience and the realisation of the Welsh, Scottish and Irish people that their political future was, in the years between 2016 and 2020, forged by a narrow English nationalism that was facilitated by the DUP and allowed to override the needs and wishes of the rest of us.

"The referendum result will be undone by the generations not yet old enough to vote, but it will be undone, and the SDLP will be part of the great undoing. It can also happen through the reconciliation and realignment of Ireland as a political entity," she told MLAs.