Sorry to disappoint Nigel Farage, but the Irish want to stay in the EU

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage addresses supporters at an event at the RDS conference centre, Dublin. Photo: Michael McHugh/PA Wire
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage addresses supporters at an event at the RDS conference centre, Dublin. Photo: Michael McHugh/PA Wire

Nigel Farage says Ireland would “prosper” outside the EU.

While admitting on BBC Radio 4 in February 2016 that Britain will be poorer after Brexit, he must think we Irish are as gullible and drunk on imperial daydreams as the English and Welsh he and his associates conned into voting Leave.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Sorry to disappoint Nigel, even with a hard Border 78% of us want to stay in the EU.

Why have Farage and fellow English Brexit travellers suddenly discovered Ireland 18 months after the referendum? Because they realise that their Brexit nightmare is impossible without a united Ireland which in turn will mean the end of the British union.

Allied with useful idiots like Ray Bassett, Anthony McCoughlan and John Waters they want to tear Ireland out of Europe by peddling the familiar lies of “sovereignty” and “taking back control”.

What would such an “independent” Ireland look like wrapped up in a lovely mythical “anglosphere”?

Dominated by a Brexit Britain in thrall to an unstable US and an increasingly powerful China, Ireland would become a social, economic and environmental craphouse, a fate that awaits Britain should Brexit happen.

Ireland is a self-confident, prosperous nation which would have been impossible without EU membership.

Before EEC accession in 1973, over 80% of our (mostly food) exports went to Britain.

Exports to Britain are now 50% and falling while we export high tech goods and services to Europe, the US and the rest of the world.

Coupled with a low corporate tax rate, EU membership has resulted in large foreign direct investment flows in order to access the single market of 500 million people while an increasing share of exports go outside Europe, courtesy of 59 EU trade deals with more to come.

A comparison with Northern Ireland is instructive.

Since 1973, the north has also been part of the EU but despite this and 20 years of peace only managed a pathetic 1.2% growth in 2017 compared with 4.9% for the Republic (and this before Brexit happens!).

A recent study by Ernst & Young showed that Ireland would weather a hard Brexit but that the north’s economy, subsisting on £10 billion a year from London and contrary to the fantasies of the DUP, would very likely be wrecked beyond repair.

In short, EU membership has been the making of modern Ireland while Brexit will be a disaster for Northern Ireland, already the weakest economy in western Europe.

Some final thoughts for Farage, all the little England Brexit pied pipers and those Irish people who might be duped by their snake oil rants and patronising jingoistic garbage.

Fifteen centuries ago, Ireland helped rescue European civilisation and so cemented our sense as a cultured, outward-looking people deeply connected with Europe.

Despite the long, dark night of colonial occupation, we managed to maintain this link in the certainty that one day we would achieve independence and take our place as equals in a united European family of nations.

We are not going back Nigel.

Richard Lindsay, Emyvale, Co Monaghan