SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called for any border controls imposed post-Brexit to be imposed between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain.
He said: “There can be no return to physical border on island of Ireland.”
The Foyle MLA claimed that “Ireland’s rightful place is at the heart of Europe” and that remains the case in spite of the United Kingdom’s decision to opt for Brexit in the EU referendum on Thursday, June 23.
“This new reality requires careful and considered thought.
“There can be no return to a physical border across this island. There must remain freedom of movement for people, goods and services across Ireland.
“The negotiation to come must ensure that any border is only operational around the island of Ireland and not across it. This result must now ensure the full and fast integration of economic interests across Ireland.
“I will now be speaking with the leaders of Dublin parties to advance this work. I will open discussions on how we can defend the interests of the people of Ireland, North and South.
“As a continuing member of the European Union, the Irish government wields significant influence that it can exercise during the course of Brexit negotiations.
“The Taoiseach is now the most important person on this island in deciding Ireland’s relationship, North and South, with the European Union. His government has huge influence in this upcoming negotiation.
“He must now be a powerful voice on our behalf.”