Brian Hayes: We must prepare for Brexit

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes has said politicians risk a “serious dereliction” of duty in failing to prepare for the UK’s potential EU exit.

Mr Hayes said he was satisfied it would be in Ireland’s interest to remain within the EU but said the “question must now be asked honestly” as to whether we could continue our membership without the UK.

In a speech to the Association of European Journalists in Dublin, Mr Hayes said there was no contingency plan in place and the absence of a government was hindering the such preparations.

“I am not convinced that there is enough contingency planning being done at government level on the Brexit referendum,” he said. “There is an urgent need to put in place a stable government to prepare for the real prospect of Britain leaving the EU.

“Failure to prepare adequately for such an eventuality would be serious dereliction of duty by all Irish politicians. There is a real danger that the present protracted negotiations on the formation of a government are distracting attention from the bigger danger ahead.”

The Fine Gael MEP added that a “new agreement” would be needed with both the UK and the EU should a Brexit become reality.

His comments came on the first day of official campaigning in the UK ahead of the June 23 vote.

Former British chancellor Alistair Darling yesterday warned “dark clouds” were gathering and accused Brexit campaigners of “turning a blind eye to credible warnings of economic disaster”.

Pro-EU campaigners were offering a much-needed “reality check”, he added.


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