Theresa May is currently on a visit to Northern Ireland, in order to placate local representatives on the impact of Brexit.
Alliance for Choice as an organisation includes membership from across a broad range of the political spectrum, but whether we wish the relationship to continue with Europe or not we know one thing; Brexit is a contributing factor in the democratic stalemate that has left us without local government for 2 years and has not been adequately addressed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland or the government at Westminster.
Even without this impasse we know that the State Party responsible for upholding our human rights is the seat of government in the Houses of Parliament, regardless of devolution. This does not make it an easy political path to take but it does make it one directed by both the Supreme Court of the land and by the CEDAW Inquiry on abortion in Northern Ireland in order that daily human rights breaches, which now number into the tens of thousands, must end immediately. The pact with the DUP which is clearly the main stumbling block to acting upon the CEDAW report, can only be interpreted as both Theresa May and Arlene Foster putting the needs of their party above the needs of the people they supposedly serve.
The impact of a no-deal Brexit on a range of cross-jurisdictional healthcare issues is slowly being dealt with and abortion is no exception. Anything that makes travel to Great Britain or the republic of Ireland more difficult will create unnecessary barriers to those who need treatment.
Below we have summarised the main party’s statements on the PM’s visit.
SUMMARY FROM PARTIES:
Sinn Fein; http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/52328
Mary Lou McDonald TD and SF party leader; “The Good Friday Agreement must be protected in all of its parts. And in the event of a hardening of the border, the people of Ireland must be given the opportunity to remove it through an Irish Unity referendum.”
Ulster Unionist Party: https://uup.org/news/5941/It-s-time-for-cool-heads-instead-of-harsh-words-Swann#.XFryHM_7SL8
Robin Swann MLA and UU party leader; “We made very clear to the Prime Minister that if there is to be no deal on 29 March, then the Government must move swiftly to implement direct rule. We have always been clear that we don’t want to see a no deal outcome, however, if that is where we end up, Northern Ireland needs political leadership and accountability.
Alliance Party: https://allianceparty.org/article/2019/0012172/prime-minister-s-speech-didn-t-answer-how-to-avoid-hard-border-says-farry
Stephen Farry MLA, Alliance Party Brexit Spokesperson;
”The Prime Minister does have the capacity to move to the political centre and to build a consensus around a softer version of Brexit, ensuring the backstop would not need to be implemented. Otherwise, the UK will default to a no deal outcome, which would be catastrophic for Northern Ireland.
Alliance will be stressing to the Prime Minister if she wants to do a negotiated Brexit then she must respect the backstop and build cross-party coalitions, rather than pandering to the DUP and ERG.
Green Party: http://www.greenpartyni.org/clare-bailey-mla-on-weak-and-watery-words-from-a-weak-and-wobbly-prime-minster/
Clare Bailey, Green Party NI leader;
“I am still waiting to see the Secretary of State do her job. I am still waiting for cross party talks to convene. I am still waiting for the appointment of an independent talks facilitator.
The Tory Party are no friends of the people of Northern Ireland and certainly not the majority who voted to remain in the European Union.
The only people that matter to the Prime Minister in the Northern Ireland context are the 10 DUP MPs that prop up her callous and shambolic Westminster government.”
Democratic Unionist Party: http://www.mydup.com/news/article/foster-urges-prime-minister-to-stand-strong
Arlene Foster, Party Leader;
“Our message was very simple. The draft withdrawal agreement is flawed because the backstop would undermine the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom. The backstop is the main problem. It must be dealt with in the terms set out in the Brady Amendment which secured a majority in the House of Commons.
Colum Eastwood Party Leader;
“These are extremely serious times. People can be in no doubt that we are heading towards a hard border if the Backstop is not banked prior to the 29 March; a retrograde step that will devastate our economy and our hard won peace.
We made it very clear to Theresa May that Northern Ireland must stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union if our interests are to be protected. Westminster must heed that.