Published: Thu, 31 March 2016
The Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly MEP, has voiced concerns that any exit of the UK from the EU would severely damage Irish trade.
“The UK is Ireland’s largest European trading partner. UK-Irish trade is valued at around €1 billion a week by the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce. There is no doubt that a No vote in the UK’s referendum on EU membership would be negative for Ireland,” MEP Kelly (Ireland South) said.
“Aside from the equally crucial political stability in Northern Ireland and along its border with the Republic of Ireland, trading on the island of Ireland would also be dealt a blow. Around €3 billion worth of goods cross the border each year, according to Intertrade Ireland, but that strength of trade depends on the peaceful, soft border that currently exists.“
His comments come after a survey by the Irish Exporters Association showed 95% of its members believe the UK should stay in the EU, while 90% of Irish exporters surveyed already trade with the UK.
“Notably, 60% of respondents say their business has already been impacted by the weakening of the sterling and even more (79%) are concerned about possible volatility in the coming months and 84% agree a Brexit would have a harmful effect on Irish exporters.”
Mr Kelly, a member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, has said Irish people living in the UK will be able to vote in the upcoming referendum and could have a positive influence.
“UK census information estimates that about 6 million people living in the UK can claim an Irish passport. Those Irish citizens understand the importance of our trading relationship with the UK and the benefits of EU membership like free movement, streamlined regulations and tariff-free trading in a market of 500 million consumers.”
“The vote on the day is up to those citizens entitled to vote and the decision is ultimately up to them”, Mr Kelly added.