Foster and McGuinness comment following Joint Ministerial Committee meeting

Date published: 24 October 2016

First Minister the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have attended a Joint Ministerial Committee meeting at Downing Street today chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Speaking after the meeting the Ministers said: "We have today emphasised to the Prime Minister in the clearest possible terms the need for the Northern Ireland Executive to be fully represented in the negotiating process regarding future relationships with EU countries.

“That must mean nothing less than high level and ongoing involvement in the process on a continuing basis.

“We also underlined our joint determination to secure the best possible outcomes for the people we represent.

 “We are heartened at the widespread support for our position that we are facing unique circumstances in this unfolding situation. We are the only region represented here today with a land border with an EU state.

 “Commitments have been made by Theresa May’s Ministers on the priority being attached to our unique circumstances.

 “Those words must be translated into action with a meaningful and clearly established role in negotiations. There must be no democratic deficit when it comes to our region’s voice being heard and its interests defended.

 “Our joint letter to the Prime Minister in August outlined our agreed key priorities looking ahead. These included: cross-border movement of people, goods and services; trading costs and business competitiveness; uncertainty on drawdown of EU funding; and support for our agri-food sector.

 “We reiterated these points in today’s discussions and also sought greater detail and clarification on the Prime Minister’s reply to our letter.

 “It is no secret that our parties come from very different positions on Brexit, as indeed on other issues. But we are jointly determined to work together to secure the best possible arrangements and outcomes. We have no doubt that this determination was well understood in the room today."

Notes to editors: 

  1. Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8256. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.
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