Taoiseach: Brexit would do serious damage

The Taoiseach, ahead of his UK visit today, has warned Brexit would do “serious damage” to competitiveness, would increase costs for business, and lead to the reintroduction of border control.

Enda Kenny is to meet with Irish communities in Manchester and Liverpool today before travelling to Scotland tomorrow to campaign for a remain vote.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin will also today be in Liverpool in a bid to shore up support for the Remain side.

It comes as Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney has said he believes the UK will vote to leave the EU, which he said would be very bad for Ireland.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Mr Kenny said that there would be “clear implications” for Ireland if the UK votes to leave on June 23.

“No one wants to see a return to a hard boarder, as much as we would not want that to happen, if the British electorate including Northern Ireland were to vote to leave then I think it would be very difficult to continue as it was before,” Mr Kenny said. “I hope that the people on the 23rd vote in their wisdom to stay in the EU but that’s obviously not within our control.

“We are co-guarantors in the Good Friday Agreement; we have a specific vested interest in the Irish communities and the fact there are 200,000 Irish jobs there and €1.2bn trade across the Irish Sea every week,” he said.

Mr Kenny said Brexit would “do serious damage to competitiveness,” and cause “delays, inefficiencies, and increase costs for Irish business”.

The Taoiseach is due to travel to Liverpool this afternoon before moving onto Manchester tonight to meet with the Irish community there ahead of next week’s vote. He had been due to attend a joint event with David Cameron in Manchester tomorrow morning.

However, the British prime minister pulled out of the engagement this week as the Remain campaign came under pressure.

Mr Howlin and Labour’s Cork East TD Seán Sherlock will also be in Liverpool today to take part in the Remain Campaign with local Labour Party MP Conor McGinn.

Mr Howlin said: “I am growing more anxious that this may in fact become a reality. I don’t believe that leaving the EU would be in the best interests of the UK, and I certainly don’t believe that it would be in the best interests of Ireland. In fact, it could end up disastrous for us.”

Meanwhile, speaking at a Dublin Chamber of Commerce event yesterday morning, Mr Coveney said he believes the UK is heading for an exit. “It would be very, very, bad for the Irish, European, and world economies if Britain voted for a so-called Brexit. My personal judgement is that’s what they’re going to do.”

More on this topic

Concern expressed over reports Boris Johnson ordered staff to find ways around NI protocolConcern expressed over reports Boris Johnson ordered staff to find ways around NI protocol

Environment Secretary refuses to rule out chlorinated chicken in UKEnvironment Secretary refuses to rule out chlorinated chicken in UK

Brexit: UK to reveal EU negotiating demandsBrexit: UK to reveal EU negotiating demands

Letters to the editor: Celebrating a Brexit deal that will only deliver more hardshipLetters to the editor: Celebrating a Brexit deal that will only deliver more hardship