Monday 5 December 2016

UK vote can bring jobs to Ireland - Hayes

Published 28/06/2016 | 02:30

Mr Hayes said he did not believe Britain should suffer 'retribution' for the result of the referendum and that Ireland needed to be 'a bridge' between the UK and EU. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mr Hayes said he did not believe Britain should suffer 'retribution' for the result of the referendum and that Ireland needed to be 'a bridge' between the UK and EU. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Dublin MEP Brian Hayes believes Ireland can benefit from Brexit by encouraging companies and agencies to move here.

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Asked about the potential benefits, he said: "There are a lot of agencies - the European Banking Authority is one - that could move to Ireland."

He said its chairman had already warned that it would have to move out of the UK in the case of a Brexit.

Mr Hayes continued: "I think a eurozone country that speaks English and which has 10pc of its GDP in financial services is the kind of country that they would be looking at. So there is always opportunity and there is opportunity on the foreign direct investment side."

His Fine Gael colleague, Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune, believes that Ireland must seek to attract the European Medicines Agency and the European Bank for Reconstruction to move from London.

But Mr Hayes said he did not believe Britain should suffer "retribution" for the result of the referendum and that Ireland needed to be "a bridge" between the UK and EU.

"Enda Kenny is very well positioned to lead that kind of mediator role, he is very respected here in Europe," he said.

"A lot of people will be looking to Ireland to see how we should proceed in terms of the negotiation. In all of that, we have to be mindful of our own circumstance," he said, adding that Ireland should "call in" some of the respect that it has built up in Europe.

"We already have opt-outs on a whole range of issues and the question is will we have to have more opt-outs based on how the negotiations are going?

"It would be unacceptable if the British are leaving and creating competitive advantage for them. It would be unacceptable that we would be losing as a result of them leaving."

Mr Hayes said while it was early to talk about opt-outs and red lines, "This is something that the country needs to unite around, this is something that the Government should work closely with the opposition on."

Mr Hayes branded a meeting of the founding countries of the EU, in the absence of other member states, as "appalling".

The meeting of foreign ministers from France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and the Netherlands took place in Berlin at the weekend.

"I thought it was appalling,"Mr Hayes said.

"I think that sent out the wrong impression entirely. It's important that we work on a 27-member basis."

Meanwhile, Dublin MEP Nessa Childers spoke to the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, warning them that Ireland had "the most to lose from the Brexit vote".

"We will have an EU frontier on our small island, introducing passport controls that could set back the peace process in Northern Ireland," she warned.

Irish Independent

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