Friday 9 December 2016

Ireland's attempt to influence Brexit vote is worth a shot

Published 16/06/2016 | 02:30

'There are up to half a million Irish-born people in Britain who are entitled to vote; there are 1.2 million Irish voters north of the Border; and there are an estimated 140,000 British citizens living in Ireland who are entitled to vote. In a tight contest, that is a chunk of political trade well worth bidding for.' Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire
'There are up to half a million Irish-born people in Britain who are entitled to vote; there are 1.2 million Irish voters north of the Border; and there are an estimated 140,000 British citizens living in Ireland who are entitled to vote. In a tight contest, that is a chunk of political trade well worth bidding for.' Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

It is all too easy to dismiss Enda Kenny's visit to Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, which starts today. Guessing the Irish reaction to a British prime minister visiting Cork, Limerick and Waterford to urge a particular EU referendum vote requires no great leap of imagination. The kindest response would be to ignore it - but the nationalist 'rhetoricometer' would probably do handstands.

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But this one definitely is different when viewed from the other side of the telescope. Yes, this is an issue for the British people - and they alone must make up their minds.

Still, the outcome of next Thursday's vote has huge implications for everyone on both islands on Europe's periphery. Ireland is entitled to strongly state its view - even though citizens in this jurisdiction do not actually have a vote.

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