Nigel Dodds’ criticism of the Irish state’s opposition to a UK exit from the EU is naïve and completely out of touch with the reality of the relationship between our two countries, stated Fianna Fáil Dublin city councillor Jim O’Callaghan and Legal Advisor to the Fianna Fail Frontbench. “This country has every right to advocate for a NO vote in a Referendum that will have massive economic consequences for Ireland that could rise to a loss of €2 billion per year by 2030,” said O’Callaghan.
“Ireland and Britain trade over €1 billion worth of goods and services every week. The UK is Ireland’s most important market, with the value of Irish exports to the UK at their highest level ever. The UK buys nearly half of our total beef exports. Some 42% of Irish food and drink exports – worth €4.1 billion – are exported to the UK. 55% of Irish exports in the timber and construction sectors and almost half of Irish clean technology and electronics exports are to the UK. The Dublin-London air route is the busiest in Europe and second busiest in the world because of the enormous level of common market trade that exists between our two countries”, said O’Callaghan.
“Contrary to Nigel Dodds’ belief, we should not remain silent as a nation. We will suffer the most of any Member State should the UK leave. Also, the fact that our accession in 1973 to the then EEC was dependent on the UK joining should remind us of what we stand to lose should the UK exit the EU,” added O’Callaghan.
“Unlike a UK general election, the forthcoming referendum will have a significant impact on Ireland’s economy. Irish citizens living in the UK will be eligible to vote. They need to understand the economic impact on Ireland and between the two countries when considering how they vote. They also need to consider their own circumstances, such as whether they will require work visas, for example, to remain in a country outside the EU.”
“The practical and economic consequences for Ireland of a UK exit from the EU are significant and serious. Therefore, the issue is not, as suggested by Nigel Dodds, ‘solely a matter for the people of the United Kingdom’. As a nation we cannot remain silent,” concluded Cllr O’Callaghan.