The First Minister and Deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness, have warned Prime Minister Theresa May that both the migrant labour that staffs our hospitals and Northern Ireland’s energy security need to be safe-guarded in the event of Brexit.
The Ministers wrote to Mrs May on Wednesday, August 10, insisting the free movement of labour on which our public and private sectors depend needs to keep flowing.
“Policies needs to be sufficiently flexible to allow access to unskilled as well as highly skilled labour,” they wrote.
“This applies not only to businesses and the private sector but also to public sector employers who are heavily dependent on the EU and other migrant labour,” the Ministers argued.
Although nurses, unlike other migrants from outside the European Union, are exempt from having to earn over £35,000, to live here, there are concerns over what will happen in a post-Brexit world.
The Ministers also warned Mrs May that energy security is a critical issue for Northern Ireland.
“Energy is a key priority, given that there are inherent cost and supply issues in a small, isolated market, so we will need to ensure that nothing in the negotiation process undermines this vital aspect of our economy.
The warning comes weeks after top energy executives in Northern Ireland warned that if local energy plants aren’t commercially sustainable the lights could go out in Londonderry and elsewhere in the not so distant future.