Saturday 10 December 2016

Irish-born MP: There's a fear decades of Peace Process work could be jeopardised

Published 24/06/2016 | 00:13

Conor McGinn
Conor McGinn

AN Irish-born MP has said it will come as a "great relief" to Irish families that fresh borders won't be erected with Northern Ireland.

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Conor McGinn, who is from Armagh, told independent.ie there has been a real fear that decades of work that went into the Peace Process would be "jeopardised" as a result of Thursday's vote.

It said it was also clear from the campaign that British voters have a "real affection" from those living in Ireland.

"I think that would be a great relief for people not just across the island of Ireland but also people here in Britain too," Mr McGinn said, while insisting that the result is still too close to call.

"There is a huge affection for Ireland and the understanding of the the importance of our relationship with Ireland and particularly in areas of Britain with huge Irish populations, there was a real fear that all of the work over the last number of decades would be jeopardised. We hope that's not going to be the case," he added.

Meanwhile, Mr McGinn said Thursday was particularly difficult for him and his colleagues in light of the murder Jo Cox last week.

Mr McGinn, who represents the St Helen's constituency, was a close friend of the murdered MP and was elected to Westminster on the same day as her last year. 

"Today was a really difficult day for everybody involved in the campaign, certainly from the Labour Party's perspective," he said. 

"The last election campaign we were involved in last year when Jo and I were elected on the same night.

"She hasn't be far from our thoughts today and she won't be far from our thoughts for a long long time."

Meanwhile, the UK’s Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has said concerns about the impact a ‘Brexit’ could have on Irish emigrants influenced the high turnout in the referendum.

Mr Burnham, who is running to become the new mayor of Greater Manchester, told independent.ie that voters were also highly concerned about the prospect of a new border with Northern Ireland.

“It was certainly a concern I heard expressed a lot. People were worried about what would happen and also Irish people living here what would happen to them. So all of those concerns were very much uppermost in people’s minds,” Mr Burnham said from the central referendum count centre in Manchester,

“There is a lot of people in the North West who do have very strong Irish connections so yeah I heard those concerns and I think they will have played a part in those turnout figures today,” he added.

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