Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Wexford Cllr Malcolm Byrne has called on Sinn Féin representatives to set out their position on the upcoming British referendum on EU membership.
Cllr Byrne made the comments after putting forward a motion in Wexford County Council highlighting the importance of Britain remaining in the EU. The motion was supported by Fine Gael, Labour and Independent councillors. Sinn Féin abstained from the vote.
“A recent ERSI report has highlighted the possible implications of a British exit from the EU in areas such as trade, foreign direct investment, energy and migration. The report makes it clear that the Irish economy and wider society would suffer tremendously should Britain decide to leave the EU,” said Cllr Byrne.
“This week, I put a motion before Wexford County Council to emphasise the importance of Britain remaining in the EU. Unfortunately Sinn Féin decided to abstain from the vote. It’s deeply worrying to see that they are refusing to spell out where exactly they stand on this issue. We urgently need clarity from Sinn Féin both North and South setting out the position that they will take in the run up to the Brexit referendum campaign.
“I firmly believe that it is in Ireland’s interest for Britain to remain an integral part of the EU. It is estimated that trade between Ireland and Britain could be reduced by 20% should a Brexit occur. This will have a direct impact on both domestic and multinational companies operating in Ireland, and widespread job losses would be inevitable.
“A British exit from the EU also opens up the possibility of restrictions on the free movement of people between Ireland and Britain for the purposes of work. This will make Ireland less attractive for multinationals to operate in and will also make it more difficult for Irish companies to break into the British market. There are also suggestions that border controls could be re-introduced along the border region.
“In the coming months I will be working to promote the importance of Britain remaining in the EU. Sinn Féin must set out their position so we know where they stand on this important matter.