‘Won’t be long’ before calls to leave EU says John Halligan

A minister who calls the Council of Europe a “waste of fucking space” suggests Irish people as well as the Dáil will be forced into debating and considering whether Ireland should leave the EU once Britain exits the union.

‘Won’t be long’ before calls to leave EU says John Halligan

Junior jobs minister, John Halligan, also says that if Britain’s position or its economy actually benefits through Brexit, then TDs here will begin calling for Ireland to leave the EU.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Halligan also confirmed that Waterford Hospital is set to get a mobile cath (catherisation) lab for cardiac patients — a move that will placate his concerned constituents.

The Independent Alliance TD, who has reservations about the EU, said people may find Britain’s economy may improve in two years time, the set exit period after Brexit is triggered this March. “It won’t be long. You’ll have people in the Dáil standing up, [saying] let’s get out of here. It is happening [being talked about already]. Some economists are talking about an Irish Brexit too. [Saying] ‘Maybe we should go with Britain’.”

British prime minister Theresa May is expected to brief Enda Kenny about the UK’s exit plan when she visits Dublin later this month. However, recent indications are it will be a “hard Brexit” necessitating borders and causing restricted movement which is worrying government figures.

Mr Halligan noted that both Britain and Ireland had joined the EEC in 1973, and not since then had there been alternative trading agreements.

“We’re in troubled water,” he said, suggesting a national conversation may be needed about Ireland’s membership of the European Union once Brexit goes ahead.

“I think we’ll be forced into it, our hand will be forced on it if Britain leaves and Britains appear to be doing OK outside of Europe. Because we all know that the European Union need to reform, the European Central Bank needs to reform. I was on the Council of Europe, a waste of fucking space.

“I think a lot of countries are waiting in the wings to see how the British economy will be affected and we will be particularly waiting. It is possible, because of sound economics, we may have to review our position when we see how it befalls England.”

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said earlier this week that he believes Ireland may follow Britain and exit the European Union.

Meanwhile, Mr Halligan says there is now a plan to treat record numbers of cardiac patients in the South-East at Waterford Hospital. He had threatened to leave Government unless a second cath lab was resourced there.

Mr Halligan says there is a waiting list of up to 800 patients for cardiac procedures at Waterford Hospital: “This is unacceptable, it is way above the European average. There is now a recommendation on the table that there would be a mobile laboratory which will deal with the waiting list and cardiovascular and stents and so on.”

He said Health Minister Simon Harris is expected to agree to this new proposal for Waterford. “It would reduce the waiting lists in the hospital on the cardiovascular side… I would then say within a year I could see the Government and the HSE being forced to say ‘they need a second cath lab’.”

More in this section