Brexit: Special Status for Northern Ireland

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP 3:15 pm, 24th January 2017

The Member, unfortunately, has once again proven how her party has not accepted the result and the verdict of the British people. I welcome the clarity that the Prime Minister has brought to our negotiating position. I think that there was some doubt for some time as to what she was going to do or what she was going to seek, and it is now very clear what her objectives are.

I will repeat what I said in response to Mrs Overend. I think that Northern Ireland, hampered as it is by the circumstances that we find ourselves in, will and should continue to seek a deal that reflects the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland and where it is located has a particular history and a particular geography that must be reflected, I believe, in any ultimate deal. It is regrettable that, for a while at least, the Northern Ireland voice will not be heard as clearly as it should be at a critical time in those negotiations. It is unfortunate that that is the case. As I said before, Northern Ireland's voice has been heard loudly and clearly, and Northern Ireland's interests have been heard loudly and clearly over the last number of months. I think that it is well understood by the Prime Minister and her team what those particular circumstances are and what the unique history and geography of this part of the world are. I hope that that will be reflected in any ultimate deal, and I also think that that is being viewed very sympathetically in Brussels.