Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Brendan Smith says the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, published yesterday, underscores the possible negative consequences of a British exit from the European Union.

Deputy Smith explained, “The report warns of the possibility of severely damaged regional and global trade relationships in the event of Britain leaving the European Union. Ireland would be one of the countries most negatively affected by a Brexit as Britain is our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner.

“This research serves to emphasise that for Ireland the stakes are particularly high in this referendum. While the decision is not ours to make, I do not believe that a Brexit is in the best interests of the island of Ireland or the European Union as a whole.

“Furthermore, we must remember that while the economic implications of a Brexit are considerable, there are social and cultural implications also. A British exit from the European Union would irrevocably change the nature of the Union on many levels. Indeed, whatever the outcome it will be a defining moment in the history of the Union.

“It is my hope, and that of my Party’s, that Britain remains a member of the European Union and works from within to reform the Union to make it work more effectively for the people and the countries it was set up to serve”.