Mid Ulster councillors express their opposition to Brexit

Under Secretary of State Kris Hopkins with Cllr Ronan McGinley and Mid Ulster Chief Executive Anthony Tohill

Under Secretary of State Kris Hopkins with Cllr Ronan McGinley and Mid Ulster Chief Executive Anthony Tohill

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A cross party delegation from Mid Ulster District Council met with the Under Secretary of State Kris Hopkins following a debate in the chamber regarding Brexit.

In July of this year, Sinn Féin brought a motion raising concerns of the negative impact Brexit will have on the people of Mid Ulster. The meeting on Monday was a follow up to this discussion and took place in the Mid Ulster District Council offices in Dungannon.

The Sinn Féin council group leader for Mid Ulster, Ronan McGinley, led the delegation made up of two Sinn Féin and two SDLP representatives. Representatives from the DUP and UUP failed to attend the meeting.A cross party delegation from Mid Ulster District Council met with the Under Secretary of State Kris Hopkins following a debate in the chamber regarding Brexit.

Cllr McGinley said: "56% of the people of the North, Nationalists, Unionists and others voted to remain in the EU. The British and Irish government must respect and give expression to that mandate. The damage that the imposition of an EU border will cause on the entire island of Ireland is clear for all to see and has been well articulated by respected academics, economists and politicians. It is clear that the British government cannot guarantee there will be no return to a hard border and the Irish Government cannot guarantee it either".

SDLP Councillor Martin Kearney re-iterated that the democratic will of 60% of people across Mid-Ulster and 56% across the North who voted to remain in the European Union must be respected. Arising out of the Sinn Fein Motion and SDLP Amendment the call went out for urgent discussions with representatives of the British and Irish Governments.

"The SDLP has been very clear. There can be no return to a physical border across this island. Any new frontier between Britain and the EU must be around Ireland, not across it," he said.

"Withdrawal from the EU threatens the sustainability and prosperity of businesses, communities and our way of life. Given the particular circumstances of Mid-Ulster, we believe that it is imperative that local representatives do all we can to defend the democratically stated will of the people.

"Although five months have now passed there remains grave uncertainty and confusion. It’s even more important in areas like Mid-Ulster that are hubs of industry, critical to the overall regional economy. And perhaps more importantly the free movement of people and services across this island as a result of EU membership, which has allowed all-island business to flourish, must be defended.”