Trevor Ringland: We Remainers must accept EU vote and try to make best of it

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King Lear’s loyal servant, Kent, urged fortune to “smile once more: turn thy wheel”.

It’s a line which comes to mind as we reflect on the outcome of the European Union referendum.

Trevor Ringland

Trevor Ringland

We can never be completely certain of any course we take as a nation, but different paths create different degrees of uncertainty.

The United Kingdom was the fifth largest economy, as part of the European Union, but there were problems to address to ensure that our prosperity and social stability were protected.

With Brexit, there are more doubts and challenges to confront, as we look to the UK’s future.

However, those of us who voted to ‘remain’ must ‘dry our eyes’ and accept the will of the British people.

We must quickly engage in shaping a positive path, which involves a constructive relationship with a successful European Union.

It is still in the best interests of the UK that the EU tackles its difficulties successfully.

We all need urgently to develop the worldwide relationships that can sustain our economy and improve living standards.

Meanwhile, at home, if there is an increase in nationalism, with the racist tendencies it involves, then it must be challenged by Leavers and Remainers alike.

The Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland retains its value, both emotionally and financially.

There are particular challenges in Northern Ireland, where it is imperative to protect the achievements of the last 20 years.

It would be destructive to reinstate any form of ‘hard border’ on the island of Ireland.

We may have different constitutional arrangements in the two jurisdictions here, but we cannot allow extra barriers to be erected between us.

Leave won the referendum, but almost half the population voted to Remain, including majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

While it’s important that we accept the result, it’s equally important both sides work together to ensure the best future for all parts of our country.

• Trevor Ringland is a former Ireland rugby international and now a lawyer and political activist