Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade Brendan Smith has restated his warning that the Government must not lose sight of the repercussions for Ireland in the event of a Brexit.

Deputy Smith explained, “The Brexit issue must not be allowed to slip off the agenda by the next Government. The referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union is due to take place on June 23rd and if Britain votes to leave the EU it will undoubtedly have very serious implications not only for Ireland, but for the European Union as a whole.

“The implications of Brexit are particularly far-reaching and wide-ranging for Ireland, and would potentially impact on our financial, trade, agri-food, energy and tourism sectors. A report by the ESRI published late last year found that Brexit could reduce bilateral trade by 20% and result in losses of up to almost €3bn per year.

“Furthermore, the impact on Northern Ireland cannot be ignored. The European Union has played a vital role in facilitating the peace-process. Much of the progress made in advancing relations was due in part to the common bonds and links forged at EU level between Ireland and Britain. This shared European identity played a crucial role in creating trust and fostering positive relationships. European funds continue to support peace and reconciliation initiatives. I and the Fianna Fáil party are particularly cognisant of the role that the EU has played in securing peace and stability in Northern Ireland. We believe that a British withdrawal from the EU would be a blow to Northern Ireland and the years of efforts to bring peace and development to the region. It is imperative that we do all we can to maintain the unity we fought so hard for.

“This referendum is imminent and its importance cannot be under-estimated.  While this is a decision for Britain alone to make, Fianna Fáil is clear in its view that a British exit from the European Union is not in the best interests of the Union and is certainly not in the best interests of the island of Ireland. It is our hope that a Brexit does not come to pass”.