Reacting to the announcement that Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers will campaign in favour of an EU exit Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Border Region Development Brendan Smith stated he disagreed with her position and said it was wrong for Northern Ireland. The “in/out” referendum is due to take place on June 23rd following negotiations over the past number of days.
Brendan Smith said: “The Secretary of State’s position is a worrying development. Northern Ireland in particular has benefitted from the EU’s Peace and Reconciliation fund while agriculture has grown and developed under CAP. Brexit would be felt most keenly here in the Republic of Ireland, the only state with a land border to the UK and our biggest trading partner. A UK exit from the EU would create a new wall of regulations from Derry to Down and undo much of the important work on cross-border bodies over the past 18 years.”
“In light of this, the fact that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would campaign for an exit is deeply worrying. Secretary Villiers is entitled to her own views on this matter and that must be fully respected. However I believe it is clear that a Brexit would be bad for Northern Ireland and bad for Irish –British relations. I fundamentally disagree with Secretary Villiers’ position.
“Fianna Fáil respects the sovereign right of the British people to decide their future. However we will make it clear that Ireland believes our mutual continued membership of the EU is good for both our countries and the strong links we have built up. In government Fianna Fáil will continue to emphasise the need to build a strong all-Ireland community and will work to prevent a Brexit,” concluded Mr. Smith.