Labour Party/PES International Seminar on Brexit

13 December 2016

The Labour Party hosted a major international seminar on Brexit to discuss the ways in which Ireland may be impacted by the UK's decision to leave the European Union. 

BrexitLabour leader Brendan Howlin delivered a key note address at the event, and I chaired the expert panel featuring Hilary Benn, British Labour MP and Chair of the Exiting the European Union Committee; Claire Hanna, SDLP MLA; Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland CEO; Marije Laffeber, PES deputy secretary general, and Matthew Laza, director Policy Network.

As we face into a period of uncertainty over the negotiations around Brexit, Labour will support the SDLP call for a 'bespoke deal' for Northern Ireland, and will continue to work to maintain progress with the Peace Process and to ensure the retention of the Common Travel Area. We will also continue to work with our PES partners to develop the ‘Social Europe’ model, while campaigning for greater levels of democratisation, accountability and transparency within the EU institutions.

Hilary Benn MP, Chair of the Exiting the European Union Committee, said:

“Brexit will have considerable implications for the UK, but it is vital that the close and strong relationship we have with the Republic of Ireland is maintained. As the UK leaves the European Union, it will also be essential to ensure that the Good Friday agreement is fully honoured and respected in any deal. Nothing should happen that in any way undermines the peace process and the progress it has secured.”

Claire Hanna MLA, the SDLP spokesperson on Finance said:

“The SDLP led the NI campaign against Brexit because we knew how damaging it would be economically, politically and socially and nothing we have seen since June has reassured us about the impacts, or the care London will take to protect the interests of people here. Months on, we have yet to hear what the NI Executive’s plans or strategies are. The EU is a creative problem solver and there is good will around our unique circumstances- Northern Ireland has options but DUP and Sinn Fein need to get their acts together and start advocating for people here”.