NI Civic Society delegation visits Westminster to urge Brexit deal

Twenty representatives from business, farming, trade unions and the community and voluntary sector are travelling to London today to speak directly to the leaders of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party stressing to them the need for Parliament to unite and protect Northern Ireland jobs, consumers and the economy.

The group have also invited all 18 local MPs to meet with them.

They will confirm that the need for a deal is critical to avoid a disastrous no deal and crashing out of the EU in just 60 days.  All the economic evidence and real-life experience of people who trade demonstrates that the Northern Ireland economy will be most impacted in the event of a no deal.

The Northern Ireland business community, along with the rest of civic society is united behind a position that a no deal outcome would be an unmitigated disaster for the Northern Ireland Economy and for society.

An agreement with the EU, even if that includes a ‘Backstop’ is wanted and is required.  The direction, certainty and insurance committed to our businesses and the community by the UK and the EU must be maintained in whatever Parliament decides to do next.

Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive Retail NI said: “It is not acceptable for Parliament to continue to create uncertainty.  This is having consequences as is apparent in our businesses and in our high streets.  The actions of Parliamentarians from across the House is not acceptable and I will be pleading with the leadership of the Opposition parties that they need to reach across the chamber and avoid a calamitous crashing out of the EU which will have dire impact on consumers and jobs”.

According to Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive Manufacturing NI, while Parliament tries to make up its mind, businesses are facing real life challenges and making decisions. He said:  “They are fighting to maintain competitiveness and customers so they can pay wages this Friday and every Friday up to and after 29th March, the day the UK wishes to Brexit.

“Our business community, farming representatives, trade unions and voluntary sectors agree that the Withdrawal Agreement whilst not perfect is workable and much better than no deal and its approval would secure the critical transition period, protect jobs and allow everyone to move to the more positive future relationship negotiations and agreement with the EU.”

Owen Reidy, Assistant General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said: “The trade union movement represents over 200,000 workers across all areas of economic activity in Northern Ireland. We must have an agreement that safeguards jobs and workers rights’ and avoids a hard border in the island of Ireland, a border in the Irish sea and a border between our islands. Workers cannot pay the price of Brexit.”

Seamus McAleavey, CEO of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action added: “NICVA and the Northern Ireland community and voluntary sector believe that a no deal Brexit would be a disaster for Northern Ireland society, threatening our stability, prosperity and well-being, and that it is therefore vital that Parliament reaches agreement to avoid this outcome.”

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