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Ireland must vote on unity in the event of Brexit – Ní Riada

5 April, 2016 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that a referendum on Irish Unity must take place in the event of a British exit from the European Union. Speaking at a conference in Cork this afternoon Ní Riada said that Sinn Féin will campaign against Brexit in the North.

She also called for consensus amongst political leaders in the South on the need for a referendum on unity should Britain choose to leave the EU in the June 23rd referendum.

The comments were made at a conference in UCC, which was hosted by European Movement Ireland and the Irish Association for Contemporary European Studies. The event heard contributions from academics, elected representatives and the British Ambassador. 


Liadh Ní Riada said: 


“Sinn Féin has been clear that Ireland’s role, both North and South, is to seek progressive change in Europe from within the EU. Whilst recognising the democratic deficit at the heart of Europe, and the neo-liberal tendencies within the bloc,  our approach is to critically engage with the EU.

“The prospect of a British exit from the EU is worrying. It will have a detrimental impact on trade and travel between Britain and Ireland, and will have budgetary implications at the European level, which will affect CAP and structural funding for Ireland.


“It will also have a profound impact on the status of the 6 counties, and raise serious questions about the ability of Britain to deliver on its committments under the peace process.


“This referendum is a party political ploy by David Cameron to undermine electoral rivals in England, and leadership rivals within his own party. According to polls Brexit is only a strong contender within England, while Scotland and Wales both appear to strongly oppose the move. Polls in the North consistently show a majority in favour of remaining within the EU.


“I am calling for the referendum to be run and counted separately in the North. All parties in the South should support a referendum on unity should an English majority threaten the status of the six counties within the EU.

“The imposition of trade and travel restrictions between two parts of Ireland, and reneging on important workers’ and human rights, contrary to the will of the people North or South must be opposed.


“All political leaders must make their voices heard on this issue.”



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