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Ulster University Brexit Symposium: Northern Ireland’s EU land border context to be priority in Brexit negotiations

Major symposium organised by Ulster University calls for decision makers to urgently consider solutions that will address the ‘unique complexity of Northern Ireland in Brexit negotiations.’

Against the backdrop of a fragile political landscape and the urgency of Brexit negotiations, Ulster University has convened a landmark symposium of leading business people, academics, unions, and health care representatives to ensure that Northern Ireland – the only part of the UK with a physical EU land border – works constructively to secure the best possible deal from the discussions.

Recognising that Northern Ireland has a wealth of talent and experience that can help bring valuable insights and solutions to the Brexit negotiations, the event held at Ulster University’s Belfast campus, aims to give representatives from across all aspects of Northern Ireland’s economy and society, a clear voice and opportunity to present solutions and prioritise issues for consideration.

Vice Chancellor of Ulster University, Professor Paddy Nixon, who convened the symposium said:

“The land border with the Republic of Ireland is a strong physical reminder of Northern Ireland’s complex and unique circumstances. Brexit brings major questions and concerns which reverberate across the breadth of key sectors in NI, and the wider UK, with our manufacturing, energy, agri-food, tourism, education and health sectors, amongst countless others, relying on the freedom of trade and labour.

“From restrictions on the free passage of goods to passport checks, a Brexit deal that does not fully consider all the implications of a physical land border could have devastating consequences for people’s jobs and livelihoods, and potentially, for the peace process.”

Professor Nixon continued:

“The real danger is that those who have the most at stake – the businesses, universities like mine, the farmers, patients and more – are forgotten because other complex issues take priority. Today more than 150 industry chief executives and community leaders have come together to work productively and inclusively to deliver solutions and identify opportunities.

“We urge the UK Government to hear our concerns and utilise our knowledge. As Brexit becomes a reality it is our civic responsibility to support and encourage the innovation, leadership and vision needed to help Northern Ireland thrive and, provide solutions to even the most complex problems.”

The symposium is focused on delivering open discussions on Brexit and Northern Ireland with the aim of delivering solutions to key issues.

Open workshops with leaders from across industry and wider society will debate and generate workable solutions that could potentially safeguard the wider prosperity of the UK economy.

Organisations represented at the Symposium include:

CBI Northern IrelandSantander
Federation of Small BusinessesInvest NI
Letterkenny Institute of TechnologyMoy Park
Department of HealthTranslink
British CouncilStrategic Investment Board
Hastings HotelsBelfast Harbour Commissioners
Education AuthorityUNISON
UCUConsumer Council
Open UniversityUniversity College Cork
Catalyst IncUlster Farmers’ Union

For more information on the symposium programme and speakers please visit the Brexit Symposium pages.