A Remain vote is in the best interests of Northern Ireland

Posted By: June 23, 2016

Irish News (Belfast). Editorial. Thursday, June 23, 2016 .

The politicians, campaign groups and leading figures in business, sport and the arts have had their say.

Now it is up to the voters to decide if the UK remains part of the European Union or chooses to leave and strike out alone.

It is a momentous decision and this newspaper has made its position absolutely plain.

We firmly believe a remain vote is in the best interests of Ireland, north and south.

The EU has its flaws, that has to be acknowledged, but any issues are capable of being addressed from inside the Union and Britain has a key role to play in this regard.

There is also no doubt that Northern Ireland has benefited greatly from EU membership over the years.

Money from peace funding is a obvious example but there has been considerable investment in many aspects of life here, from agriculture to infrastructure projects.

A future outside the EU would be deeply uncertain in terms of the economy, jobs and trade links.

It has been to Northern Ireland’s financial advantage to be part of the EU.

Can we really expect the Treasury to provide a similar level of funding to Northern Ireland in the years following a Brexit?

Will a future Tory government emboldened by its new-found powers be well disposed to appeals to make Northern Ireland a special case?

We can probably guess the answers to those questions.

Then there is the issue of border controls. Despite fiercely dismissing any suggestion there could be checks on people moving through the only land border between the UK and the EU, the Leave campaign was unable to provide certainty on this crucial question.

Indeed, this week Tory home secretary Theresa May was the latest Remain figure to warn of border controls predicting a negative impact on trade and disruption to people’s lives.

However, at this stage of a long campaign, the arguments have been well-rehearsed and most people will have made up their minds.

On this important day for all our futures, we urge people to participate in this referendum and vote to remain in the European Union.