Mixture of concern and surprise in Belfast at Brexit vote

Brexit news coverage was shown on the big screen at Belfast City Hall

Brexit news coverage was shown on the big screen at Belfast City Hall

There was a mixture of concern and indifference, but not much celebration, on the streets of Belfast after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

While a number of people said they didn’t believe it would unduly affect their daily lives, others reported family members fearing for their employment with major European companies.

Nick Lewis, who is originally from Wales but living in Newry, is disappointed at the Brexit poll outcome

Nick Lewis, who is originally from Wales but living in Newry, is disappointed at the Brexit poll outcome

Watching the unfolding news coverage on the big screen at Belfast City Hall on Friday morning, Margaret Thompson said her husband had already heard rumours his German-owned company is considering pulling out of Northern Ireland.

“My first concerns were about the EU subsidies we get for lots of things like farming and creating new jobs, but my husband just rang to tell me he’s really worried about having a job in a few months.

“I would be very pro-Union too so all this talk of a second Scottish referendum isn’t really creating much stability within the UK. I’m just very concerned that the people pushing for this haven’t really thought it all through and there will be financial implications for all of us...who knows how it will affect the cost of living?”

Nick Lewis, who is originally from Wales but lives in Newry, said he hoped that the majority of people in his native Cardiff voted to remain.

Agnes Gwynne from Belfast hopes the Brexit vote won't lead to an even higher cost of living

Agnes Gwynne from Belfast hopes the Brexit vote won't lead to an even higher cost of living

“There were many reasons to vote either in or out but the debate got hijacked by the far right and it became all about immigration. I see a very skilled immigrant workforce, yet they have become a whipping boy for the Leave campaign.

“Hopefully when the dust settles it won’t make much of a difference to our lives as most people just want harmony. There could be a new set of problems with the border area [with the Republic of Ireland] but maybe not - time will tell.”

Pensioner Agnes Gwynne from Belfast said she was disappointed with the “scare-mongering” during the campaign, making it “hard to know what was true” about both sides of the debate.

“I really can’t see much happening that will affect people in the short term. Nothing that’s happened is likely to do much about all the greed there seems to be nowadays. The more people have the more they want.

“Pensioners like me certainly can’t afford prices for essentials to go up, and I just hope they keep the pension the same and the bus pass. We’d be lost without the bus pass.”

Andy McMaster said he was surprised at the Brexit vote but thinks all the fuss will settle down sooner rather than later.

“Everyone’s getting a bit excited about it but the country needs stability so everything will get back to normal within a week or two. I was a bit shocked that the UK actually voted to leave the EU. It does mean there’s a bit of uncertainty and I’m sure local businesses doing trade with EU countries will be worried.

“I’m not really into politics that much but I did think David Cameron was doing a good job, so it’s a shame that he will stand down over this.”

Danny O’Prey from Belfast said he didn’t think the outcome of the referendum would have much of an impact.

“I don’t think prices will go up, and as long as I’m in a job I don’t care. I think there are too many immigrants and that’s what led to the vote going the way it did.”

His workmate Gary Grant added: “I don’t think it will make a difference to me. If the cost of living goes up then so should wages.”