Tuesday 6 December 2016

UKIP politician thinks Ireland should pay for Welsh motorway with EU funds

Published 30/11/2016 | 14:34

A member of the Assembly of Wales yesterday suggested that the Irish government could provide EU funding to improve a Welsh motorway after Brexit.

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David Rowlands, UKIP Assembly Member for South Wales East, made the suggestion in a parliamentary question to First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones yesterday.

“First Minister, given that a large proportion of all Irish exports, both to the UK and the EU, pass along the M4 motorway, will the First Minister explore the possibility of part of the costs for the M4 improvement scheme being borne by the Irish government, given that three quarters of all Irish exports to the EU and the UK pass along that road?”

Carwyn Jones had a brief response: “No, it’s for the Welsh government to maintain the trunk roads and motorways of Wales.”

“Well I thank the First Minister for the answer, but this is a serious proposition, as I understand Ireland may be able to access European funds from the trans-European highway funds,” Mr Rowlands pressed on while members of the parliament jeered and shouted.

“I trust that they know what they’re saying, and that we can now get funds from the EU. Post-Brexit, of course.”

UKIP, Mr Rowlands’ party, was one of the main backers for the UK’s recent exit from the European Union; the irony of this statement was not lost on the First Minister.

“The member seems to be urging on me that I should urge the Irish government to apply for European funding to pay for Welsh roads. He has been a member of a party and indeed campaigned in June to end European funding for Welsh roads,” Minister Jones said.

“He cannot, I suggest, go to another EU member state and ask them to make up the shortfall that he himself campaigned to engineer in the first place.”

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