Irish people living in Britain tend to view the country as a mature democracy; yesterday they woke up wondering if that maturity had become senility.
In the Irish pubs around Covent Garden ex-pats were examining the 4% margin of victory that has delivered a body blow to an established way of life.
In London where the remain camp polled over 75% there is disbelief that the nation could betray the capital.
Outside Waxy O’Connors, off Leicester Square, Aisling McSwiggan from Galway and her work mates were in collective shock.
Ms McSwiggan, who has been in London for years, said she hadn’t met a single person who was voting in favour of Brexit.
“I have been working in London for years. Not a single person who I knew in my network was voting leave,” she said. “We are not celebrating, we are drowning our sorrows.” She put the out vote down to the economic problems in the North of England, which voted in favour of leaving the EU.
“I know things have been tough in northern England economically but I didn’t think it was this bad,” she said.
In the Porterhouse bar in Covent Garden, part of the Porterhouse group based in Dublin, Fiona Carey from Westmeath said she couldn’t believe the outcome of the vote.
“London is so diverse and full of foreign people that I just assumed that they would stay in,” she said.
The result of the Brexit vote is already playing into people’s plans for the summer.
Ms Carey said one of her friends who was planning to come over to London to work for the summer, was now reconsidering where to go in search of work.
“My friend is reconsidering coming to the UK because it is leaving the EU,” she said.
Back upstairs in Waxy O’Connors the Watson family from Belfast are split down the middle. Chris Watson, who has been working for Sainsbury’s in London for the last year-and-a-half, said he voted to leave the EU.
Immigration and Brussels bureaucracy were what pushed him towards Brexit.
“You can spend a whole year negotiating with suppliers to get contracts only for legislation to be changed and you have to renegotiate everything,” he said.
Chris’s father Mark Watson also voted to leave. He said there are a huge number of immigrants who contribute nothing to the economy. He is hoping that the UK can implement an Australian style points system to slow the flow of people into the country.
However Ben Watson voted in favour of remaining in the EU.
As another round of drinks arrived he argued that it was OK for his parents to vote leave as they were approaching the end of their careers and wouldn’t have to deal with the uncertainty that Brexit brings about.
“I think that the EU will introduce trade tariffs and make an example out of the UK,” he said “It will be my generation who will have to deal with it.”
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