Wednesday 21 March 2018

Taoiseach warns Brexit could lead to return of border controls with North

Enda Kenny. Picture: Arthur Carron
Enda Kenny. Picture: Arthur Carron
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said a so-called 'Brexit' could lead to a return of a "hard border" with Northern Ireland.

In his starkest warning to date, Mr Kenny said the border of the European Union would run "from Dundalk to Derry" if Britain votes to leave.

Describing the June 23 vote as the most important since the passing of the Good Friday Agreement , Mr Kenny said a 'Brexit' would be a "regrettable and backward step" for trade and co-operation between North and South.

"We are standing here today less than fifty miles from the United Kingdom's only land border.  Can anyone credibly suggest that nothing would change if that became the western border of the European Union ? We remember when it was a hard border.  We remember the delays, the cost and the division," Mr Kenny said.

"But it is difficult to imagine a situation where there would be no controls or checks on the movement of goods if the UK left the EU. Those who advocate for Leave simply cannot guarantee otherwise.

Mr Kenny said there would be no voice at the European Council, the "most powerful table of our continent" , to speak on behalf of families living in the United Kingdom.

He also cited a number of all island initiatives , such as the construction of a children's hospital and the joint bid to host the rugby World Cup in 2023.

Mr Kenny made the remarks during a keynote speech at the University of Ulster in Belfast.

During his speech, he expressed his condolences to the family of 24-year-old Darren Rodgers, who died following last night’s Northern Ireland game against Poland in Nice.

The Fine Gael leader is due to travel to Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow later this week as part of the campaign.

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