Brexit could re-start Northern Ireland Troubles, Irish PM warns

Posted On: 
9th November 2015

Britain leaving the European Union could disrupt the peace process in Northern Ireland, Enda Kenny has said.

The Republic of Ireland Prime Minister said the EU had been "an enabler of peace" by helping to bring Loyalists and Republicans together.

Speaking at the CBI conference in London, he said the ongoing dialogue between Britain and the Republic is also helped by the fact that both countries are in the EU.

He said: "All-island economic cooperation is so much easier between two members of the European Union.

“The EU provided almost €2.4 billion in funding over the period 2007 to 2013 to help Northern Ireland overcome the challenges of a peripheral region that has emerged from conflict.

"Common membership of the EU project is part of the glue holding that transition process together,” the prime minister said.

“We have come through a difficult few months politically in Northern Ireland. But I remain optimistic.

“I believe that Northern Ireland can leave the past behind and become a dynamic economy that will benefit not only the UK but the island of Ireland.”

Mr Kenny highlighted some research done by the Irish Government that concluded a UK exit from the EU was not in Ireland’s financial interests.

He added: "The research also found that Northern Ireland could be the most adversely affected region of the UK in the event of a Brexit. This is extremely worrying on a number of levels.

“The EU has been an important, perhaps underestimated, enabler of peace in Northern Ireland."

The Irish prime minister is set to meet Mr Cameron at Downing St later.


Elsewhere, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte warned against the UK leaving the EU, saying the move would prove financially damaging.

He said Britain would be in danger of becoming “a mid-sized economy in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in neither America nor Europe.”

 “It would no doubt take away a lot of economic potential, and be a killer for the London financial centre,” he said.