Tuesday 23 January 2018

Government has 'Plan B' if Britain votes to quit EU on Thursday - Taoiseach

What would happen Ireland if Britain says 'yes' to Brexit?

What will happen Ireland is Britain says 'Leave'?
What will happen Ireland is Britain says 'Leave'?

John Downing and Louise Kelly

THE Government has a 'contingency plan' to deal with the consequences of British voters opting to quit the EU, the Taoiseach has said.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil he expected a result about 5am on Friday and there were plans in place for a government response to the outcome.

The Taoiseach was replying to Opposition questions and came under pressure to detail Ireland's response to a potential "Leave" vote on Thursday.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said there was a sense that officials "were praying" that Britain would not leave the EU - rather than real preparations to cope with Brexit becoming reality.

Mr Kenny said there were detailed government response plans. He said there would, if necessary, be an early morning Cabinet meeting, and there were plans for communications and contacts with governments in all the EU capitals, and there would a leaders' summit in Brussels early next week.

The Taoiseach said he was hopeful of a mood change in Britain in recent days and that voters may opt to stay with the EU. He said if voters opt for "Brexit" two years of talks on exit terms would follow.

He said in that event, all EU governments must seize the opportunity to reform the workings of the 28-nation trade bloc.

Meanwhile, a special report on Brexit for Independent.ie reported that uncertainty is perhaps the primary concern among Irish people living in Britain as the outcome in the vent of a Brexit in so many respects remain, for them, unclear.

Figures obtained by Independent.ie reveal that some 535 adults born in Britain of Irish parents applied for an Irish passport in April this year – application figures that haven’t been reached since 2008.

Chef Robin Gill and his wife Sarah – who works with him in their restaurants - believe a 'Leave' vote in Brexit could seriously affect their business.

“It looks like the economy could take a big hit if the vote is for leave. But more importantly for us, we employ over 60 people and a lot of them are from all over the EU,” Robin told Independent.ie.

“What happens if Britain votes to leave? Will they need work visas? Will they have to go home? London needs talented people to come here from all over the world, I really hope the vote is for staying in.

"We've lost really good people with the visa situation in Australia and Canada. I can't imagine what it would do to our business," he continued.

"We’re doing well, the economy is doing well, we’re better off in a connected, globalised world. We’re voting Remain”.

For Irish entrepreneurs like Seb O’Driscoll, a 35-year-old Corkman who runs The Six Yard Box, a hip, pop-up sports bar in Elephant & Castle, there’s no doubt how most Irish will vote.

“The Irish are everywhere in London, and most love it for being a multi-cultural city with huge diversity and a real international feel,” says Seb.

“The sense I get, from guys coming into the bar here, from my friends and the Irish you meet, they’ll all be voting remain. We don’t have a negative view of the EU in the way a lot of Brits do. And we don’t know what’s going to the happen to the economy if we leave”.

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