Brexit impact assessment a waste of cash

The DUP's  Allan Bresland.'DER2114MC143
The DUP's Allan Bresland.'DER2114MC143

Two DUP Aldermen opposed Derry City and Strabane District Council spending £50,000 on an impact assessment following the EU Referendum result.

Strabane DUP man Allan Bresland said he and colleague Thomas Kerrigan did so because they both believed Brexit was a “done deal”.

Speaking to The Sentinel, Mr Bresland said that during a special meeting held on Wednesday, the Council Chief Executive, John McKelpie, had outlined how £50,000 had been ring-fenced for what he called ‘a high level impact assessment’ post-Brexit.

“I think £50,000 if it has to be spent it is a waste of money to spending it on this, because Brexit is gong to happen anyway,” Mr Bresland said.

“I think spending this money is hopeless. The UK won the vote to leave and that’s it. It is done, it is going to happen and it will happen, so I voted against the recommendation because I believe it would be a waste of money.

“We had a meeting, but it was left to every individual member to vote what way they wanted and the majority were for it,” he said.

The purpose of the meeting was to seek members endorsement to engage with stakeholders and to prepare a high level impact assessment for the Council area and wider north west cross border region in light of the outcome of the EU referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. A second purpose was to seek authority from members to appoint relevant specialist contributors.

Prior to the vote, the members were told that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would have implications for EU funding, trade and foreign investment, as well as other matters that would affect daily life of those living and working in the Council area and beyond.

However, in the short term, advice from the Special European Union Programmes Body indicates that the Body will continue to implement the delivery of PEACE IV and INTERREG VA.

Councillors were told that once a member state decided to withdraw, there would be a two-year term during which the terms of the withdrawal agreement are negotiated. In the interim the UK will remain a member of the EU. They were told that analysis would evolve as more information became available regarding the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, and the Council, in its civic leadership role, would co-ordinate research.