Northern Ireland

EU referendum: NI reaction to referendum result

Leave wins the referendum and the UK will quit the European Union Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Leave wins the referendum and the UK will quit the European Union

Politicians and business representatives from Northern Ireland and the Republic are among those reacting to the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster (DUP)

"I think this is a good result for the United Kingdom. Our nation state has made a clear definition as to where they want to go forward.

"They backed hope, they backed aspiration, they backed the future potential of the United Kingdom and I'm very pleased with the result."

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin)

"The British government has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the north in any future negotiations with the European Union and I think there is a democratic imperative for a border poll.

"I think the fact that we have seen a situation where 56% of the people of the north - who are unionists and nationalists and republicans - voted together to stay in Europe, further strengthens the case for a border poll."

Mike Nesbitt, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)

"Despite the clear majority within Northern Ireland voting to remain within the European Union, we must respect the overall result and deal with it and its implications, political, financial and social.

On the negotiations that lie ahead, Mike Nesbitt said: "Does (Arlene Foster) go representing the DUP, who are Brexiteers, or does she go as First Minister recognising that 56% of people in NI voted to remain?"

Colum Eastwood, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)

"Yesterday Northern Ireland voted to remain as part of the European Union. Ireland's rightful place is at the heart of Europe. That was true yesterday, it remains true today.

"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."

Enda Kenny, Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister)

"There will be no immediate change to the free flow of people between Britain and Ireland. We have engaged in detailed contingency planning for the possibility of this result.

"The Dáil (Irish parliament) will be recalled on Monday. We will do our upmost to maintain the common travel area."

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, NI finance minister (Sinn Féin)

"As we move into negotiations around the fiscal relationship with London, I will act resolutely to protect the interests of all our people, especially against further austerity.

"It is essential we assure potential investors, the business community and those in receipt of European funding that we will endeavour to put in place the necessary measures to safeguard our interests. I will be doing my utmost to prevent more barriers being erected between our people across this island."

Jim Allister, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV)

"What a glorious night for British democracy, British sovereignty and the British people! Well done all who voted Leave. This is your victory."

Steven Agnew, leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland

"Cameron to resign as he can't represent a country that voted to leave. Can Arlene represent NI when it voted Remain?"

Tom Kelly, chair of Northern Ireland Stronger IN

"It's a sad day for those of us committed to the peace and prosperity brought about by European unity. I can only hope that having taken this decision that those who drove this know what they are doing because the consequences will be reaching on so many levels.

"As a matter of priority political leaders in Northern Ireland will need to find a way to reflect the democratically expressed will of the majority people as expressed here against backdrop of the decision taken."

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland

"All of the factors which have made Northern Ireland a good place to start and grow a business, including our attractiveness as a location for investment, a base for research and development and as a trading partner, remain and will continue to provide the foundations upon which to grow our economy in the future.

"As part of the 5th largest economy in the world, we are confident that Northern Ireland will continue to succeed as an attractive location for inward investment, in particular from our largest target market, the USA; and that the reduction in corporation tax will play an invaluable role in creating a business-friendly environment to support job creation, based on the combination of tax, talent and value.

Ian Sheppard, chairman of the Institute of Directors Northern Ireland (IoD NI)

"Three quarters of IoD NI members who took part in a survey in March 2016 wanted the UK to remain in the European Union but now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, it is imperative that political leaders manage this transition as smoothly as possible.

"One thing the UK Government must do is to guarantee the right to remain of EU citizens currently working in the UK. Many companies in Northern Ireland have EU nationals employed in key roles and do not want the disruption of losing valued staff."

Jerome Mullen, honorary consul of Poland in Northern Ireland

"Obviously there will be a great deal of shock among the immigrant communities here this morning because they don't really know what their position is.

"I do believe that there will be no particular change to their positions immediately, but it will effect certainly family members who want to come here and any other people who want to come from countries like Poland."

Gavin Killeen, president of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

"We are very sad that the vote is to leave the European Union. While we fear that the result will be economic damage, we call on our political leaders to establish arrangements that limit this damage.

"This means that we need to know as soon as possible what will happen to Northern Ireland's borders with the Republic and with Great Britain. We need to know what the future cross-border travel rules will be and what, if any, customs controls will be put in place. "

Barclay Bell, president of the Ulster Farmers' Union

"We don't want farmers to panic. CAP (Common Agriculture Policy) support is guaranteed to 2019.

"We will immediately enter into discussions on future support arrangements, funded by the UK Treasury, and also on the continuation of trade with Europe.

"We also have a UK farm union's team in Brussels that will work closely with the European Commission and UK government as the UK makes the transition to exit the EU."

Fergal McFerran, president of the National Union of Students - Union of Students in Ireland

"I am of course very disappointed by the national outcome of the referendum, but it is one that Northern Ireland clearly took a different view of. A majority here, 56%, voted to remain in the European Union on a regional turnout of 62.7%."

"I am proud that our members gave NUS-USI a mandate to campaign to remain in the EU and our regional result here, just like in Scotland should act as a serious message to the UK government to work closely with the devolved governments to minimise the very clear economic implications that the referendum outcome will have."

The Right Reverend Dr Frank Sellar, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland

"Today some of us will be feeling delighted, angry or bewildered; a time of mixed emotions at the onset of profound change.

"For believers, our identity is found in Jesus, not in Stormont, Westminster or Brussels. Real hope is secure, as Christ is sovereign and good. Today we pray for our political leaders, for wisdom and strength as they lead us through this period of change."

Canon Ian Ellis, editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette

"Following the result of the UK referendum on EU membership and the decision to leave the EU, I believe it is important that special arrangements are reached swiftly to protect businesses that rely so much on cross-border trade and on trade between the Republic of Ireland and the UK as a whole.

"This is not a time for panic but it is a time for wise, careful and prudent planning."

Bombardier - statement from aircraft manufacturing firm

"It is too early to speculate on potential outcomes/impacts of the UK now having voted to leave the European Union.

"As always, we are committed to our businesses, all our employees and our customers in the UK, and we will continue to work with the government and other industry stakeholders to create the necessary business environment to ensure our future success."

Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil's finance spokesman

"The result of yesterday's referendum is deeply disappointing from our perspective. While the reaction on the financial markets has been swift and severe, a fuller assessment of the impact on our economy will take some time to emerge.

"It has to be recognised that the drop in the value of sterling has caused an immediate problem for Irish firms exporting to the UK and in the wider conduct of cross border commerce. Much will now depend on the negotiations around the UK's exit from the EU."

Liam Lynch, president of Chartered Accountants Ireland

"The Irish government must now ensure that the terms of the UK's exit do not lead to unnecessary burdens and tariffs particularly on Northern Ireland businesses trading with the rest of Europe.

"The decision of voters in the UK who wanted their country to leave the EU sends a message to those of us who remain. Brussels must reform its approach to decision making."

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