Ulster Unionist Finance spokesperson, Steve Aiken has said that the triggering of Article 50 makes it vital that the Executive gets up and running as soon as possible.
Mr Aiken was commenting after the European Council President formally received a letter from the Prime Minister signalling the triggering of Article 50.
Steve Aiken OBE MLA said:
“In the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons today she made it clear that after Brexit the devolved administrations will see a significant increase in their decision-making powers, as responsibilities are repatriated from Brussels.
“This makes it vital that a Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive gets up and running as soon as possible to deal with the challenge of Brexit, and so we can maximise any opportunities which arise.
“When an Executive gets up and running it is crucial that it establishes a specific Brexit unit, with the right expertise, to ensure that the policy priorities of Northern Ireland are being appropriately conveyed to those involved in negotiations.
“In Theresa May’s Article 50 letter, she noted the unique relationship between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and that the Common Travel Area must be safeguarded. The relationship between our two countries is central to £50 billion worth of trade and hundreds of thousands of jobs across these islands, therefore it is crucial that nothing is done to damage this. This may also require an enabling treaty between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to address the modalities of the all-island relationship.
“It is imperative that a Northern Ireland Executive gets up and running to address these matters urgently.”