Thursday 29 September 2016

Time's running out: Brexit could cost Ireland dearly

Published 26/01/2016 | 02:30

Prime Minister David Cameron (left) greets Taoiseach Enda Kenny outside No 10 Downing Street in London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Prime Minister David Cameron (left) greets Taoiseach Enda Kenny outside No 10 Downing Street in London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

From the heady heights of an ard fheis where the fruits of the recovery were trumpeted by Taoiseach Enda Kenny it was back down to earth with a bang yesterday, as Mr Kenny pondered the fallout from a messy 'Brexit'. Mr Kenny pointed out on a trip to London how a British withdrawal from the EU would cause major problems in the North. The clock is running on the British referendum, which needs to be held by the end of 2017.

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One could make a case that this country has more to lose from a Brexit than any other state in the EU, with Britain being such a key trading partner.

There is no denying that it would have a destabilising impact on political relationships in the North. Mr Kenny quite rightly pointed out that while a Brexit would be critical to this state, the revised demands made by David Cameron can still be met. Mr Cameron goes to Brussels next month to try to sign off on new terms regarding Britain's relationship with the EU before the critical vote. According to research, the "EU effect" was worth around £133bn (€175bn) to the 200,000 export and import companies in the UK in 2014 alone. There is a lot on the line, and there is so far nothing to suggest that Mr Cameron is preparing to campaign for a pull-out. Nonetheless, the issues need to be teased out while there is still time to weigh the consequences.

Irish Independent

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