Saturday 10 December 2016

UK Brexit response 'incompetent' - SDLP

Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood told the party the Conservative-led government has displayed 'incompetence' since the Brexit result was known. Photo by Mark Winter/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood told the party the Conservative-led government has displayed 'incompetence' since the Brexit result was known. Photo by Mark Winter/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The British Government "don't know what they are doing" in relation to formally exiting the European Union, the Fianna Fáil think-in has heard.

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SDLP leader Colum Eastwood told the party the ­Conservative-led government has displayed "incompetence" since the Brexit result was known.

And he also hit out at the response by the North's First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, which, he says, has amounted to a single letter sent by the two leaders to UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

"By any standards, even their own, the response by Arlene and Martin has been fundamentally weak," Mr Eastwood said.

"This is especially the case when placed in comparison to the other devolved leaderships.

"You wouldn't get Nicola Sturgeon writing letters in August and patiently waiting for a reply from Theresa May.

"She is battering down the door to defend Scotland's interest.

"The question is increasingly being asked in the North is why our own Executive is not doing the same."

The issue of Brexit was one of the key themes at the Fianna Fáil think-in in Carlow.

Mr Eastwood said the Irish Government and the Taoiseach in particular have a crucial role to play following the vote to leave.

"The Irish government and particularly the Taoiseach have a huge responsibility over the coming period to represent the interest of citizens in the Northern Ireland who voted to remain in Europe," he said.

"As a continuing member state, the Irish government will have huge influence in this upcoming negotiation."

Irish Independent

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