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 the Catalan people must be allowed to have their say in their independence referendum unhindered. 

Martina Anderson, who will travel to Catalonia for the referendum as an observer,  said: 

“The Catalan independence referendum was legislated for by the Catalan Parliament in a democratic vote. 

“The Spanish government should respect this democratic referendum as legally binding. 

“The raids on the offices of Catalan ministries and arrest of a senior Catalan government official by Spanish police last night was an attempt to subvert the democratic process. 

“The people of Catalonia should be allowed to have their say in this referendum unhindered by Spanish police repression. 

“Ultimately, it is up to the Catalan people to have their say on their future on October 1st and they should be allowed to do so without interference.”

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for an integrated agricultural administration system on the island of Ireland. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“Tomorrow I will be attending the National Ploughing Championships, one of the biggest events in the agricultural calendar, in Tullamore. 

“It is one of the largest agricultural shows on the island and attracts visitors from north, south east and west. 

“Our agriculture industry on this island is recognised internationally for its excellence and the international community does not see borders when it comes to our produce. 

“Given the challenges we face with Brexit, particularly in agriculture , it is vital that the agricultural sector starts preparing for Irish unity. 

“An integrated agricultural administration system on the island of Ireland would remove trade barriers, obstacles around country of origin labelling, and differing animal health regulations. 

“Irish unity makes sense for our agri-food and farming sectors north and south and we need to start preparing for it now.”

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the right of the people of the north to be directly represented in the European Parliament must be upheld. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“The proposals put forward this week to redistribute European Parliament seats post-Brexit does not take into account the democratic rights of the people of the north of Ireland.

“The 1.8 million people living in the north have the right to Irish, and therefore EU citizenship and as such are entitled to direct democratic representation in the European Parliament. 

“Access to the democratic process and direct representation is a basic fundamental right. 

“All citizens in the north should be taken into account in any proposals for potential redistribution to European Parliament seats across the island of Ireland. 

“This is about safeguarding rights and the best way to do that is to secure special status for the north within the EU so that the people in the north continue to have direct representation in the European Parliament.” 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss dealing with the legacy of the conflict. 

Speaking after meeting the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, in Brussels today, Martina Anderson said: 

“I met today with Nils Muiznieks in Strasbourg to discuss the failures of the British government and others to address the legacy of the conflict. 

“Sinn Féin MLAs and MPs have met with the PSNI Chief Constable, the PSNI’s head of legacy and the NIO  to discuss legacy issues in recent weeks and today’s engagement is an extension of that. 

“I updated him on the recent highly significant rulings from the High Court on the disclosure, or more appropriately, the non-disclosure of files relating to legacy cases, including the activities of the Glenanne gang. 

“I also reiterated the need for the British government to release funding to clear the backlog in legacy inquests in line with the proposal from the Lord Chief Justice. 

“As well as that, we discussed the continued failure of the British government to implement its commitment to an Act Gaeilge. 

“And I also raised the case of imprisoned Derry man Tony Taylor and updated him on the developments calling for his release.” 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Irish interests must be safeguarded before the Brexit negotiations can progress. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“Today I met with British Labour MEP Claude Moares to discuss the impact of the Tory Brexit agenda on the people of Ireland. 

“I welcome the recent move from Labour that they are now prepared to look at remaining in the single market and customs union post-Brexit. 

“We discussed the need to safeguard Irish interests during the Brexit negotiations. 

“It is clear that the those interests need to be discussed and resolved before the negotiations can move on to discuss other aspects of Brexit. 

“Both the British and Irish governments must realise that our interests must be safeguarded and the best way to do that is to work to secure special status for the north within the EU.” 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has raised the case of Derry man Tony Taylor in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and called for his immediate release. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“I addressed the chamber in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last night and raised the case of imprisoned Derry man, Tony Taylor. 

“I told MEPs that his continued imprisonment is an affront to justice and democracy. 

“His continued detention is wrong and needs to end.  

“I told the Parliament that he should be released immediately or brought before a court. 

“On Friday, Elisha McCallion MP, Raymond McCartney MLA and I will be going to Maghaberry to visit Tony Taylor and we will once again call for his release.” 

For the latest newsletter from Martina Anderson MEP on the Brexit negotiations process click here