Taoiseach to make 'a number of visits to UK' before Brexit vote

Taoiseach to make 'a number of visits to UK' before Brexit vote

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he intends to make “a number of visits to Britain and Northern Ireland over the course of the next two months” to convince UK voters to vote against exiting the EU.

Mr Kenny has called on the UK to stay in the EU - saying Ireland has “a unique perspective and interest in the outcome of the referendum” and would be "severely impacted" if the UK left.

Speaking at a Bloomberg Conference at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin, he said a number of studies have shown that Ireland will be hit economically if there is a ‘Brexit’.

“Most credible economic assessments conclude that in a ‘Leave’ scenario the negative impact on the UK’s GDP could range between 1% and 5%,” he said.

“According to the ESRI’s research, in turn, every 1% decrease in UK GDP could normally be expected to result in a decrease of 0.3% in Irish GDP.”

He added that development in the North is dependent on the UK staying in the European Union.

“The EU has directly provided much-needed funding, including through programmes like PEACE and INTERREG, which will provide almost €3bn in the six years to 2020,” he said.

“A closer look at what this EU funding means on the ground reveals funding for new investment in infrastructure, research and innovation that is supporting a transition in the Northern Ireland economy and creating new sustainable jobs.”

While stating that it was important to “ensure that the strong bonds between Britain and Ireland are preserved”, the Taoiseach said that Ireland “will remain a committed member of the EU, regardless of the outcome of the UK referendum”.

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