• Should we be afraid about our future in the European Community?
David McWilliams and others tell us that just over half of Britain's voters would vote in favour of Britain leaving the EU. The likelihood of this happening leaves us with two alternatives. Do we want to stay within the EU without Britain? Do we want to leave the EU to continue to trade with Britain?
Either of these options will have grave economic effects for us. Can we live in the hope that Britain will never leave the EU? We can indeed, but that would be a very haphazard environment for business and government planners in which to operate.
Ireland embraced membership of the then EEC in 1972 by a large majority. But before that we had a mutual agreement with Britain, known as the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement. The bones of this agreement was passed at the Fianna Fail ard fheis in 1965.
Sean Lemass was Taoiseach of Ireland and was of course leader of the Fianna Fail party at that time.
The agreement was ratified as pragmatic, economic development by committed republicans of the entire Fianna Fail party. The agreement came into place and began to work. By 1973 we acceded to the European Community under the leadership of Jack Lynch.
I do not remember any discussions about the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement after that.
So it seems to me, that the agreement would still be in place.
If this is so, it would be a very comfortable safety net for Ireland in the unlikely event of Britain leaving Europe. We could reactivate the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement and continue to trade with Britain.
Address with editor