Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade Darragh O’Brien has urged the Government to have contingency plans in place in the event of Britain voting to leave the EU.
Commenting on the issue Deputy O’Brien said, “The referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union is taking place in less than a month, the outcome of which could have serious ramifications for the island of Ireland. During questions in the Dáil this week, I impressed upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade the need for the Government to have contingency plans in place in the event of Britain voting to leave the EU. There is clearly no room for complacency on this issue.
“Several reports have highlighted that a Brexit would have serious negative implications for Ireland in the areas of trade, travel, tourism, agri-food and cross border relations. A recent report from Teagasc noted that Brexit could mean a reduction in the value of Irish agri-food exports of anything from €150 million (1.5%) to €800 million (7.2%) per annum, while an ESRI report found that a Brexit could reduce bilateral trade flows between Ireland and the UK by at least 20%, resulting in losses of approximately €3bn a year.
“While Brexit could result in several different scenarios for Ireland depending on the terms of the departure and prevailing economic conditions it is important nonetheless that the Irish Government is prepared whatever the outcome.
While this is a matter for Britain alone to decide, we cannot overlook the fact that Britain is our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner and we must do all we can to protect ourselves and our interests in the event of a Brexit”.