‘Backstop the only viable option’ – Kelly

The only viable option on the table to prevent a hard border in Ireland is the backstop arrangement agreed last year, Sinn Féin Councillor Dan Kelly has said.

Cllr. Kelly was commenting after Derry City and Strabane District Council backed his motion calling for the backstop to be retained in the final Brexit agreement and also to seek assurances from EU negotiators regarding the protection of rights for EU citizens here.

“We are entering a yet another crucial phase of the Brexit negotiations and if there is to be a deal it will be based on the December Joint Report which the British Government agreed with EU at that time,” Cllr. Kelly said.

“Paragraph 49 of the Joint Report dealing with the north of Ireland was very clear that, in the absence of agreed solutions Britain will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which now, or in the future, support north-south cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.

“Given the ongoing failure of the British Government to produce any credible proposals to prevent a hard border, clearly the backstop solution must now come into play and I am pleased that Council backed my motion, endorsing that position. The DUP do not speak for the people of the north so it is important that the EU hear the voices of the people and the elected representatives of this Council area.

“However, it’s also important to state that the backstop does not resolve all our problems in relation to the border. It does not cover areas such as services which is why Sinn Fein is still pushing hard for alignment with the entire European Singe Market.”