Project Brexit

Northern Ireland

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First Minister Arlene Foster (Outgoing, Democratic Unionist Party, since January 2016)
Population 1,810,863
Size 14,130 km² (5,456 sq. miles)
MEPs 3 (joined the EU in 1973)
Next Assembly elections 2021
Presidency of the Council No Presidency
Last meeting with Theresa May 30 January 2017
Brexit priorities Northern-Ireland voted to stay in the EU and the Government is seeking a special Brexit deal in order to maintain the invisible border with the Republic of Ireland as well as safeguard the peace process between the two countries.

Northern-Ireland is a member of the joint ministerial committee that coordinates the relationships between Downing Street and the devolved administrations and functions as a platform for discussing all matters related to Brexit.

What the Northern Irish Government said on Brexit First Minister Arlene Foster on 24 June 2016

“I think this is a good result for the United Kingdom. Our nation state has made a clear definition as to where they want to go forward.”

Former Deputy First Minister McGuiness on 3 July 2016

“It would be very damaging for trade, very damaging for tourism, and also very damaging for all those people who supported the Good Friday Agreement.”

Former Deputy First Minister McGuiness on 25 July 2016

“There are no good opportunities flowing from Brexit and I made it clear to the British Prime Minister that the democratically expressed wishes of the people of the North, who see their future in Europe, who voted to remain in Europe, should be respected.”

First Minister Arlene Foster on 30 January 2017

“The UK Government needs to incorporate the views of devolved administrations – we need to be part of the process, not just listened to.”

Northern Ireland’s priorities In a snap election, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein secured the most votes and now have to form an Executive. The deadline for forming a Government has been extended to possibly after the summer. However, if parties do not find an agreement, there could be another election or the country could come under direct rule from Westminster. Sinn Féin (nationalist party) now holds one seat fewer in the assembly than the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). A bill giving the Irish language the same status as English is the main point of conflict between the two parties, as the DUP opposes this.

Meanwhile, the general election produced a hung Parliament in which the Conservatives no longer have a majority. They have come to a ‘confidence and supply agreement’ with DUP, which obtained ten seats in the House of Commons, to get to a majority.

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