Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP for Cavan and Vice-President of the European Parliament, has commended Cavan County Council on facilitating a special meeting of the Council today (Wednesday) to discuss the impact of the Brexit on the county and the region.
Speaking in the Council Chamber the MEP said dialogue was important. “It’s a concern that the UK doesn’t have a clear plan at this stage. Article 50 which is the official signal to trigger the exit process hasn’t happened and doesn’t look as though it will be initiated anytime soon.
“Therefore, we have to work in the meanwhile on bringing about the conditions for the best possible outcome for the Republic and for Northern Ireland,” she said.
The MEP on Monday met Jo Johnson, UK Universities and Science Minister in Manchester and she told Councillors that she had discussed with him the potentially serious implications for the border region of Brexit.
The current uncertainty is already impacting development projects in the border area, worth in the region of €132 million. “There is a real risk that these projects could be stalled unless there is clarity about the future of the funding mechanisms and renewed commitment to implementing the projects,” she said.
“A significant 85pc of the funds for these projects come from the EU. Uncertainty, like about the timing of Brexit, has given rise to caution in the relevant government departments about committing to projects which have a life span beyond 2020 for completion.
“All EU programmes including INTERREG VA and Peace IV are part of the Brexit negotiations and this is leading to such uncertainty.”
Ms McGuinness said the facts on the ground are very removed from the “political rhetoric.”
“For example, the UK is not in a position to complete an individual trade deal with Canada because Canada is already in negotiations with the EU on a trade deal.”
She said the current situation demands that the remaining 27 EU countries need to recommit to a shared future.
“The EU is as strong as its constituent parts. With all of the challenges from globalisation to immigration to security the idea of disintegration is the very antithesis of what is needed,” she said.