Joint statement by party leaders on rights after Brexit

The following is a joint statement from the leaders of Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green parties.

We are at a crucial point in the Brexit negotiations. Guarantees were given in the Joint Report between the British government and the EU in December that there would be no diminution of rights as a result of Brexit, on the rights of people resident here and that the Good Friday Agreement would be protected.

“These guarantees have yet to be fully translated into legally binding text and reflected in the Draft Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

“Significant areas of concern remain, and there is little sign of any tangible progress on a range of important matters, including: continued access to third-level study with status of EU students; continued access to the European Health Insurance Card; continued provision for cross-border health services, such as the Northwest Cancer Centre and the Children’s Heart Centre; and safeguards for EEA migrant workers in Northern Ireland, as well as a broad range of other areas reflected in our earlier Joint Declaration on Human Rights and Equality.

“We note the proposals put forward by civic society groups for amendments to the Draft Protocol and we urge further dialogue and consideration of changes to ensure that the Protocol is amended in a manner that faithfully reflects and translates into law all rights and equality commitments made in the first phase of the negotiations.”

Agreed and co-signed by;

Naomi Long MLA, Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland

Michelle O’Neill MLA, Assembly Leader and Vice-President of Sinn Féin

Colum Eastwood MLA, Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour party

Steven Agnew MLA, Leader of the Green Party NI

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs