Lord Kilclooney: The Irish Republic should also leave the EU

EU flags fly at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.  (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)
EU flags fly at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)

I welcome the decision of the three finance ministers of our devolved institutions at Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to meet.

We have a common interest to proceed towards the United Kingdom exit from the European Union.

This includes an increase in the block grant so that there can be alternative funds for both the fishing and agriculture industries.

I have just returned from a three-day meeting of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Dublin.

There was unanimous agreement that there should be no hard border created between the two jurisdictions in our island.

Living near the border I am in total agreement.

In the Republic they are terrified about the implications of Brexit because (1) the UK is their main trading partner; (2) their farmers are alarmed as 55 per cent of their meats exports go to the UK; (3) the depreciation of sterling will be devastating to their tourist industry as the largest number of their tourists come from the UK; and (4) that Southern border towns like Dundalk, Monaghan, and Letterkenny will suffer as shoppers pour across the border to take advantage of lower prices due to the depreciation of sterling and the lower rate of VAT in Northern Ireland.

I stated at the meeting that the UK was now on its way out of the EU and that I fully understood that this would be damaging to the Republic’s economy.

I suggested that there was one simple solution, ie just as the Republic felt obliged to join the EEC on the same day as the UK perhaps realism would prevail in two years time and that the Republic would exit the EU on the same day as the UK and that it should also leave the eurozone and revert back to the punt or sterling.

Lord Kilclooney, Westminster