News & Media

Radical steps required to protect Northern Ireland's interests

3 September 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Responding to the likelihood of a UK general election, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, called on parties in Northern Ireland to consider running joint Remain candidates who will commit to taking up their seats in Westminster.

Deputy Howlin said:

“It is unacceptable that so much Brexit decision making has happened in Westminster without proper representation of the Remain majority in Northern Ireland and without a functioning executive in Northern Ireland. 

“Scotland’s government stands firm with its voters and the Welsh government has joined legal challenges to the prorogation of parliament, but the only people speaking for the people of Northern Ireland are the DUP. Sinn Féin are prepared to take the money, but will not bring the fight against no deal Brexit to the arena in which it is being fought. You cannot complain about something that you won’t fight.

“With the numbers likely to be tight in Westminster even after a general election, every seat will matter and should be fought for.

“I believe that it would be prudent and in the best interest of Ireland for the leadership of the Alliance Party, the Green Party and the SDLP to begin discussion on a Remain Alliance with the purpose of offering voters a single candidate in each constituency, who would commit to taking up a seat in Westminster if elected, to oppose no deal Brexit. If Sinn Féin would be unable to join such an alliance, they should stand aside in the national interest, just as Labour did in 1918.

“The voice of the majority in Northern Ireland is being denied and distorted as things stand. As a general election approaches, radical steps are required to ensure the interests of the people of Northern Ireland, and indeed the Republic, are looked after.”