TD warns ‘Brexit’ [UK withdrawal fom EU] would be disaster for border counties

Posted By: March 14, 2016

John Manley.Irish News (Belfast). Monday, March 14, 2016

Brendan Smith said Brexit would be a disaster for the border counties.The UK’s withdrawal from the EU would signal “political and economic disaster” for Ireland’s border counties, according to a Fianna Fail TD.

Cavan-Monaghan representative Brendan Smith said the flow of goods and people between the north and the Republic is at a historic high but ‘Brexit’ would likely see the imposition of border controls.

The former minister for agriculture, fisheries and food, who is now Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on border region development, was among panellists who discussed implications of the EU referendum at the SDLP conference.

Speaking to The Irish News afterwards, he said the Republic had a “selfish and strategic interest” in Britain remaining within the EU.

He said research had suggested that post-Brexit, trade between Ireland and Britain would drop by at least €3 billion a year.

But Mr Smith said the greatest impact of a UK withdrawal from the EU would be felt in Ireland’s border counties, as it could signal controls on movement between the jurisdictions.

“I’ve spent this weekend in Derry and you can see for yourself what damage Brexit would do to its close ties with Donegal,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil TD, left, said nobody along the border wanted to see controls imposed.

“A Brexit would certainly spell political and economic disaster for Ireland’s border counties and would set us back 30 years,” he said.

“Additional controls would mean additional costs and make businesses less competitive. There would also be political implications.”

The SDLP is among four of Stormont’s parties who support the campaign to remain in the EU.