Thursday 19 July 2018

Farage-backed 'Irexit' conference branded a 'sham' promoting 'incorrect information'

Former UKIP leader Mr Farage, will be in Dublin next month to speak at the event entitled Irexit: Freedom to Prosper. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Former UKIP leader Mr Farage, will be in Dublin next month to speak at the event entitled Irexit: Freedom to Prosper. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A Nigel Farage-backed conference to discuss a so-called 'Irexit' from the European Union has been branded as a "sham gathering" by Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond.

Former Ukip leader Mr Farage will be in Dublin next month to speak at the event entitled Irexit: Freedom to Prosper.

It is being organised by the leading Brexiteer MEP's European Parliament group and will include Irish contributors.

Mr Richmond has claimed the conference will seek to promote "incorrect information" about Ireland's role in the EU. He said one reason Brexit happened was "decades of unchallenged Euro-scepticism" and the message to Mr Farage should be "no thanks, Nigel".

Mr Richmond said a social media video publicising the event incorrectly claims that Ireland's corporation tax rate - wrongly put at 12pc rather than 12.5pc - is under attack. He insisted this was not the case and Ireland had a "rock-solid veto on this area".

He said the video's claim that the UK is Ireland's biggest export customer is incorrect.

Last night, Mr Farage dubbed Mr Richmond an "EU federalist fanatic" who recently said he would be happy for Ireland to pay a €2bn annual contribution to the EU.

"I doubt the Irish taxpayer will be enthused to pay this money," he added. "They are already paying off €64bn private bank debt at the EU's behest."

He said the 12pc tax rate quoted in the video was "simply an abbreviation" and insisted the EU is preparing to "shaft" Ireland's corporate tax regime.

Mr Richmond said this was "scaremongering" and that at least 11 countries share Ireland's views on proposed EU changes to corporation tax. He denied being a federalist fanatic, saying he is merely a keen EU supporter. He said Ireland got a "massive" return for being a net contributor to the EU budget through access to the single market.

He said Mr Farage's use of the €64bn bank bailout figure was "out of context" as it wasn't just EU debt and it had since been reduced.

Irish Independent

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