Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has expressed dismay and anger at the refusal of Unionists and a number of Independent members of Derry City and Strabane District Council Governance committee for voting against a Sinn Féin motion on Brexit at a meeting on Tuesday.
The motion called on the council to support the Border Communities Against Brexit campaign and to make alliances with other council’s in border areas who will be similarly affected by Brexit once implemented:
Councillor Cooper said
“Our motion was designed to show that our council recognised the massive impact that Brexit will have on border areas. It included the major potential disruption at the border created by border controls, increased costs for cross-border traders through new tariffs. And reduced income for border farmers created by a loss of EU subsidies and reduced freedom of movement for local residents.
In particular, this council will lose a massive amount of EU monies which are currently used for job creation, Rural Development and infrastructural programmes. When this money disappears post-Brexit the council will have little choice but to downsize these initiatives or else increase rates to allow these programmes to continue.
At Tuesday’s meeting, various Unionist representatives were joined by a number Independent councillors in opposing our motion.
Whilst the opposition of unionists may have been expected, the stance of the Independents flies in the face of their constant demands that the council seeks to reduce the burden on local rate payers.
Their head in the sand approach ignores the reality that we are facing a major funding crisis as a result of Brexit. I am only glad that the support of other members allowed the motion to proceed which will now allow us to begin building alliances with other councils to build a lobby against Brexit.