Wednesday 28 September 2016

I fear for EU's future, admits Higgins on Scottish trip

Published 28/06/2016 | 02:30

President Michael D Higgins meets Scotland’s First Minister Nicola
Sturgeon. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
President Michael D Higgins meets Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

President Michael D Higgins attacked the "discourse of fear" in the UK's Brexit debate and said he is concerned about the future of the EU.

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Mr Higgins said the UK's Brexit debate was "rather sad".

The President met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow to discuss ties between their two countries.

Ms Sturgeon has pledged to explore all options to keep Scotland in the EU, up to and including another vote for Scottish independence.

She said Ireland now has "issues" in relation to borders, with the largely pro-EU Northern Ireland facing the prospect of leaving. She stressed she does not want to see a border between Scotland and other parts of the UK.

Speaking in Glasgow, Mr Higgins said: "I am concerned, very much, about the future of the EU itself and I think that it's a matter that all of the members of the EU must be concerned about together.

"I don't think that it is an issue for one or two member countries. I don't think it is an issue for, as has been referred to, founder members of the EU.

"I am a believer in the EU and I think what we need to do is to rediscover its great moments."

He said the Irish people have benefited from EU membership through freedom to work and study in other states.

Mr Higgins added: "What I think is rather sad, in relation to the recent consultations, which is entirely a matter for the UK to arrive at its own opinion, was the degree of fear that was in the discourse.

"It seemed to crowd out, if you like, all the things that the people of Europe can achieve together."

Mr Higgins is also set to address the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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