'We should leave EU on same day as British' - Gay Byrne backs Irish EU exit if Brexit happens

Gay Byrne. Photo: Damien Eagers

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Broadcaster Gay Byrne has claimed Ireland should leave the EU on the same day as the UK if Brexit goes ahead.

The Lyric FM DJ put the idea forward on his radio show on Sunday and, speaking to Independent.ie this morning, he said his first preference would be for the British government to simply ignore the Brexit vote.

Mr Byrne (82) explained: "I simply put it forward on the radio show as a possibility on Sunday to be considered.

"It would be a lot handier if the Prime Minister of the UK decided not to do anything about withdrawing from Europe at the moment. It would cause an awful lot less dissension and effort and trouble than what is going on at the moment.

"And failing that, since our main trading partner in Ireland is the UK and our second main trading partner is America it might be worth considering if they continue with Brexit that we could come out of Europe on the same day that Britain is coming out."

The popular broadcaster, who hosted the Late Late show for 37 years, claimed that a large number of Irish people were not pro-EU.

"I have no idea whether anybody agrees with me or not. We now know that large numbers of people, at least half the population in the UK, are unhappy with Europe are unhappy with Brussels, are unhappy with what is going on at the moment. There is no reason to believe that the same proportion doesn't apply in Ireland.

"A large number of people are unhappy with Brussels and are unhappy with the way Europe is going and maybe they might consider some other possibility."

However Mr Byrne, who is affectionately known as Uncle Gaybo, said his first preference would be for British PM Theresa May to simply put Brexit on hold for five years because of the "appalling vista" that is now facing them.

"We do know, absolutely, that at least half of those people who voted for Brexit were sorry that they had voted that way and if they had the way of doing it again they would vote the other way.

"What's to stop a government changing its mind?" he asked.