SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone
has warned that, without an Executive in place, Northern Ireland will fall
further behind in the preparations for the impact of Brexit. The Mid Ulster
MLA is part of the SDLP team taking part in discussions at Stormont on
restoring the Executive.
Mr McGlone said, “Since the referendum
vote last year, the last Executive of Sinn Féin and the DUP failed to make
any meaningful preparations for the impact of Brexit.
“The British Government has been
pre-occupied with formulating a negotiating position that can hold the
various factions of the Tory party together.
“During the same period of time the
Irish Government has been working on risk assessment and putting in place
contingency planning for Brexit across all departments.
“As a result the rest of this island
is streets ahead of the North in terms of preparing for the impact of Brexit.
“NI civil servants may have drafted
speculative reports on areas of concern, but they await Ministers in office
to make policy decisions based on those reports.
“If an Executive is not restored
through the current talks then we will fall further behind in the
preparations for Brexit.
“Any decisions which are then made
will be made by a British Government that will have other priorities than
the impact of Brexit on the island of Ireland.
“Our society and our economy need
locally elected representatives in the Executive to make the decisions
required to navigate the challenges that are ahead, and being held
accountable for those decisions in the Assembly.
“The SDLP is ready and willing to do
that. The outcome of the current talks will show whether other parties are.”