EU needs radical reform, but a 'Brexit' a disaster for Ireland

Martina Anderson.

Martina Anderson, a Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament, has said that Ireland faced huge implications from a partial disengagement or full scale withdrawal (a “Brexit”) by the British state from the European Union.

Anderson said the implications of a Brexit for Ireland included the formal repeal or significant erosion of human rights protections, which would have hugely negative implications for Ireland in the six northern counties still claimed by Britain and in the south.

Anderson said: “Issues including the Peace Process [in the North], human rights protections, agriculture, jobs, infrastructure and energy, cross-border trade and travel would be directly affected by a Brexit.

“A Brexit could see the re-emergence of passport checkpoints and customs controls along the border [between Ireland's north and south], hindering free movement and disrupting the lives of nearly a million people living in the Border region.

“It would mean no more Single Farm Payment or Rural Development Fund, no Structural Funds, and no Peace Funding, with high human, social and economic costs.

“It is highly unlikely that the British government would be willing to replace the direct funding currently received from the EU, which between 2007/13 was worth £2.4 billion to the North.

“Europe does need serious and radical democratic reform, but Sinn Fein believes this should be achieved through increased accountability and transparency of the European institutions.

“So while there is no question that the North of Ireland would be hardest-hit by a Brexit, with huge setbacks for political and economic progress and continued democratic transformation, the adverse effects would be felt across every aspect of trade throughout the island.”

[Abridged from]

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