Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP has called on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to play a much greater role in encouraging Britain to stay part of the European Union, as our two economies are deeply interlinked.

Mr Gallagher said today, “The history of Irish and British membership is inextricably linked with both countries joining the EU in 1973. To this day the UK remains Ireland’s largest trading partner with €1 billion of trade in goods and services flowing across the Irish Sea every week. The close economic ties between our two nations mean that it is in our interest that the UK remains a central and engaged member of the European Union.”

“The rise of extreme parties is worrying. None more so, in my opinion than the rise of UKIP, particularly how the Eurosceptic party is now effectively shaping British policy towards Europe.

Mr Gallagher further said “If you take the example of the HGV road user levy imposed by the UK government which has been in operation in Northern Ireland from 01 April. This is a penal and discriminatory tax on Irish hauliers transiting through Northern Ireland. If Britain were to leave the EU, problems such as the HGV road user levy would only become more commonplace and there would be a real possibility of border checks on the Island of Ireland if they do leave, which would be a total disaster.

Mr Gallagher concluded, “Following on from the successful state visit by President Higgins to Britain in April, I strongly believe that the Irish Government including the Taoiseach must play a much greater role in encouraging Britain to stay part of the European Union, as our two economies are deeply interlinked.”