Sinn Fein has abandoned the idea of Irish Independence for the EU

The recent blog post of Free Church of Scotland Minister Rev David Robertson ( @theweeflea ) on his conversion from being a Pro SNP Scottish Independence supporter to a person who would now vote “No” in any second Scottish Independence referendum has triggered some fierce debate.  I could not help but see the parallel between the SNP and Sinn Fein.

The SNP has exchanged the idea of Scottish Independence for the fantasy of the progressive EU

How easily the above quote could be applied to Sinn Fein and Irish Independence.

Fiscal policy, regulations & laws and ultimately the Irish border will all be determined by unelected EU Commissioners.

“Independence in Europe” is not Independence at all.

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In the run up to the Assembly elections Sinn Fein have been ramping up the rhetoric about the “devastating” effects of Brexit

To address some of their points.

EU Funding will be lost – Whilst many EU projects are beneficial, the UK is a NET contributor so all funds were initially UK tax payer money which should be under elected UK government control.

The £300 million per year figure is quite true, but what Sinn Fein omit is that Northern Ireland more or less pays in what it gets back and for 2015/2016 was a net contributor after a large fall in EU funding.

I would say that thousands of jobs rely on trade between North and South – this will continue regardless, but a continuation of the Common Travel Area would be the preferred outcome. The customs union and the free movement of goods will be the more difficult problem dependent on the final Brexit deal between the UK & EU.  Systems like the UNECE`s eTIR are aimed at helping to facilitate paperless cross-border trade. A 2016 House of Lords report concluded that the best outcome after leaving the customs union would be for EU partners to agree to a bilateral UK-Irish agreement on trade and customs.

I`m not quite sure where Sinn Fein have got their 40,000 job losses in “the North” figure from.  The only reference to 40,000 job losses I can find is from the Irish governments Chief Economist and is in reference to the Republic losing trade with the UK in a worst case scenario.  Hwever the Northern Irish economy has seen steady growth in retail, finance and exports. Currently Foreign Direct Investment is up, wages are up and the number of people in work up.

“Workers rights are under threat” – quite the turn around from Sinn Fein whose Vice President Mary Lou McDonald said “Lisbon lowers wages….the Lisbon Treaty provides both the Commission and the court with an even stronger mandate to undermine workers pay and conditions” whilst Sinn Fein have continually criticised “the austerity policies of the EU” and accused the ECB of “absolute disregard” for national democratic institutions.  Martine Anderson MEP denounced the “right wing elites of Europe” and the “anti democratic actions of the ECB, IMF and European Commission”.

Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ni Riada has stated “the economic and fiscal policies of the European Union have had catastrophic effects on the lives of many of its citizens….the gap between the rich and the poor in the EU is constantly increasing, social rights are being dismantled, unemployment remains at high levels..and people….are being subordinated to poverty and stagnation”.  Sinn Fein have also said the EU is “paving the way for the privatisation of fundamental services and that the EU is a “bad deal” and “bad for our economy and that the EU has “too much power””. I could go on.


University funding and student exchange. Again, UK taxpayer money.  The government has indicated that it wants to retain the Erasmus scheme (and things like Europol) even before I mention that Erasmus+ has many non EU members on the scheme.

Lastly, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted against special status “for the North within the EU“.