Wednesday 7 December 2016

Brendan Howlin doubtful whether Government adequately prepared for possible Brexit

Niall O'Connor Political correspondent in Liverpool

Published 16/06/2016 | 11:55

Brendan Howlin Photo: Tom Burke
Brendan Howlin Photo: Tom Burke

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin has described the prospect of a hard border being formed with Northern Ireland as "unthinkable".

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Mr Howlin, the former Public Expenditure Minister, also expressed doubts over whether the Government is adequately prepared for a possible 'Brexit'.

Speaking as he campaigned in Liverpool, Mr Howlin said €1.2bn worth of weekly trade between the UK and Ireland would be thrown into "turmoil" if British voters opt to leave.

The 'Brexit' vote is due to take place this day week.

Mr Howlin, who was accompanied with local Labour MP Conor McGinn, also warned of the prospect of a new hard border being formed between the Republic and the North.

"We certainly don't want to put up new barriers, or a new hard barrier on the island of Ireland, that would be unthinkable," Mr Howlin said.

Mr Howlin issued the warning ahead of Taoiseach Enda Kenny's visit to Liverpool today.

Read more: 'We call him Sir Yob' - Nigel Farage maintains Bob Geldof did Brexit 'Remain' campaign 'a lot of damage' after bizarre Thames incident

Mr Kenny is due to meet members of the Irish community before travelling to Manchester for a business event tonight.

Speaking on the' Anton Savage Show' on 'Today FM' today, UKIP leader Nigel Farage described Mr Kenny's visit to the UK as a "mistake".

"The more people from Goldman Sachs and who lead governments, that tell us we must all stay part of the European Union, the more likely we are to stick two fingers up to them," Mr Farage said.

"This battle is the people’s battle, the people versus the politicians - I don’t think the British people like foreign leaders coming and telling them what to do.

"Now it’s a little bit different with Ireland - if it was any other country in the world, I would say it’s wrong to interfere. I do see there is a difference, because of the close relationship between Britain and Ireland," he added..

Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has written, phoned and sent text messages to hundreds of constituents warning of the importance of the UK remaining in the EU.

"Europe is an increasingly small player in the World and is behind the United States and China in terms of population and economic power. India is growing rapidly and South American countries are coming together to form a strong block," Mr Varadkar wrote.

"Britain makes the EU stronger in negotiations with these superpowers. When it comes to debates on issues within the EU, Britain and Ireland are usually on the same side given our similar cultures. If Britain leaves, we lose an ally and Europe is weakened," he added.

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