Irish government will campaign for its citizens to vote Remain

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says its his government's 'duty' to inform voters


Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his government will seek to persuade Irish communities living in the UK to back remaining in the European Union.

Speaking to an event organised by Bloomberg, Kenny noted that while it was not for anyone to ‘lecture’ the UK about how it should vote, it nevertheless remained his government’s ‘duty to inform’ voters, so that they understand the consequences of potential Brexit.

With almost one million Irish citizens thought to be living in the UK, Kenny said that he and his Ministers would be making a number of trips between now and 23 June to persuade them to vote to stay in the European Union.

Irish citizens living in the UK will be allowed to vote in the referendum.

Mr Kenny told the event in Dublin:

“We would see the UK leaving the EU as a considerable concern because successive economic studies show that the impact on Ireland would be proportionately greater than on other EU member states.”

The most credible economic assessments suggest the UK’s GDP will fall by somewhere between one per cent and five in the event of Brexit, and Kenny cited research by the Irish Economic and Social Research Institute suggesting that a one per cent reduction in UK GDP would likely see Ireland’s GDP and GNP fall by 0.3 per cent in the medium term.

Kenny continued:

“We can argue all day about what new arrangements could be put in place after a Brexit and how long that would take.

“However no alternative arrangement will be better than the one we have: a single market and seamless flows of goods, services, capital and people”.

Looking ahead to the campaign over the next few weeks he told the audience:

“I will also be asking a number of ministers to visit Britain during this time to reach out to Irish citizens living there; to engage with friends of Ireland and the wider business community who have an interest in British-Irish economic cooperation.”

The Taoiseach’s comments come days after the European Movement Ireland launched a social media campaign titled #phoneafriend, urging Irish people to remind family and friends in the UK to register for the referendum.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forwrad

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