Staying close to the UK is more important than Single Market access for Northern Ireland

A new study looks at an impact that a 'Hard Brexit' would have North of the border...

Staying close to the UK is more important than Single Market access for Northern Ireland

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A new report on the effect that a 'hard Brexit' would have on Northern Ireland says that the six counties would get no economic benefit from saying in the EU's Single Market if the rest of the UK leaves it.

The Nevin Economic Research Institute also highlights the importance of Northern Ireland fighting - or seeking exemptions from - any rule changes curbing the free movement of people to maintain an open border with the Republic of Ireland and to "prevent a sudden deterioration in the Northern Ireland labour market."

It adds that it is important that the region stays in the EU Customs Union. Failure to do this would create bureaucratic obstacles which would hurt cross border trade. This would include "the re-establishment of customs checks on the land border with the Republic of Ireland."

Northern Ireland has £3.5bn annual sales South of the border - and £12.5bn sales in Britain. The study concludes that remaining close the the rest of the UK is more important for NI than access to the Single Market.

"Overall a Hard Brexit is likely to be more economically disruptive for Northern Ireland. The UK remaining within the Single Market and most importantly the Customs Union would be the optimal situation," it adds.