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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met today with the European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt to discuss special status for the North within the EU. 

Speaking after meeting with Guy Verhofstadt, who is on a two-day visit to Ireland to see at first hand the impact of Brexit, Martina Anderson said: 

“I met today with the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt in Belfast along with Sinn Féin leader in the north, Michelle O’Neill, and my party colleagues David Cullinane TD, John O’Dowd MLA and Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile. 

“From my regular meetings with Guy Verhofstadt he is well aware of our concerns over Brexit and the disastrous impact it would have on Ireland. 

“We told him that we could not withstand any any exclusion from the single market and customs union, allow the return of borders of the past or deny citizens access to the European Courts of Justice.

“We need to see new thinking instead of the confused and unworkable proposals coming from the Tories who regard Ireland who have no regard to Ireland when it comes to their Brexit agenda. 

“We welcome this opportunity to engage with Guy Verhofstadt in Ireland and will continue to engage with people across the EU to build further support for our case for the north to have special status within the EU.” 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is vital that the concerns of local communities about the British government’s Brexit agenda are heard across Europe.

Martina Anderson said:

“My fellow Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy and I have brought a task force of MEPs from across Europe to Ireland, north and south, to see at first hand what the impact of the Tories’ undemocratic Brexit agenda would be.

“We met in Newry with representatives of Newry, Mourne and Down Council along with civic and business leaders from the area to discuss the real concerns that exist over Brexit.

“The task force heard there is a genuine fear about the prospect of Britain imposing a hard border, compounding the negative impact of partition, and the impact that would have on the local economy.

“We then travelled on one of the 277 roads that cross the border to Carrickmacross in Monaghan to meet the local council and business and farming representatives.

“It is clear that Brexit would be bad for Ireland, north and south, and its impact would be particularly keenly felt in border areas. 

“Sinn Féin have put forward a case for designated special status for the north within the EU and that has received support from Dáil Éireann. It is now up to the Irish government to act on that vote.

“The MEPs, as they continue on this fact-finding mission, will be able to take the concerns of local communities about Brexit and bring them back to the heart of the European Parliament.”

Today I reiterated the demand of International Human Rights organisations and campaigners that the EU take immediate action to save the life of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al-Qeeq.

Mohammed has been on hungerstrike for 92 days and his doctor has said he is on the verge of death.

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the EU Council conclusions on the situation in Palestine and called for severe sanctions on Israel if it doesn’t comply with all UN resolutions on the Region.

Ms Anderson commented:

“I particularly welcome the EU reiteration of its commitment to achieving a two-state solution – based on parameters set out in the Council Conclusions of July 2014.

“It is abundantly clear that the oppressive security measures adopted by Israel is inflaming the atmosphere and creating the environment for continued conflict rather than defusing the situation.

“Conflict resolution as demonstrated in other regions of the world including our own experience is achieved through dialogue and negotiation not by increasing repression.

“Israeli action in the Palestinian Territories – the continued construction of illegal settlements, the separation wall, demolition of Palestinian homes and villages and confiscation of properties, including those housing EU funded projects – evictions, illegal outposts and restrictions of movement are not conducive to building trust and respect and must cease.

“Israel must end all settlement activity and dismantle illegal outposts. The EU must insist on Israeli compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights or face immediate and severe sanctions.

“While the Palestinian Authority must do all it can to prevent violence emanating from areas under its control, as the major protagonist in the conflict, Israel, many of whose actions qualify as war crimes, must be left in no doubt that Europe will not carry on business as normal while it continues to flagrantly ignore a litany of UN Resolutions.”


Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to discuss concerns over the impact the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would have on the Irish farming industry. 

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Anderson said; 

“The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would have a huge detrimental and wide-ranging impact on many sectors, particularly on agriculture. 

“The Investor – State Dispute Settlement element of TTIP in particular would allow companies to override and overrule governments on cuts to their profit margins. 

“It would open the market here to US beef, which could jeopardise food safety and traceability and put jobs at risk. 

“And it is not just beef; it will also impact on the pork, poultry and dairy sectors and could result in up to 3,000 job losses. 

“Research carried out in the south has shown the beef sector could contract by three per cent, which would represent a loss of £45m as a result of TTIP. 

“We need to see similar research being carried out here in order to find out what the full impact of this unfair legislation would be on our agriculture industry.” 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the withdrawal of an application to carry out drilling associated with fracking on the north coast.

Speaking after the “When communities stand their grounds” section of an NGL Climate Conference in Brussels, Ms Anderson said;

“I welcome the fact that Rathlin energy have withdrawn an application to carry out drilling associated with fracking at Ballinlea.

“Fracking poses a serious threat to our environment, health and agriculture, not to mention our scenery and tourism. Given that the north coast is famous for its natural beauty, fracking in that area, or indeed any area of Ireland, would be ludicrous.

“Last February, along with party colleague Michelle Gildernew, I hosted the first anti-fracking conference in Ireland, in Fermanagh and here I was delighted to meet some of the anti-fracking activists from the Protect the North Coast group (PONC).

“These individuals, as well as my party colleague Daithí McKay, must be congratulated for their steadfast campaign and unwavering opposition, as it has resulted in this positive outcome.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work with anti-fracking groups across Ireland and do all in our power to ensure our island remains frack free.” ENDS