Ahead of Thursday’s momentous vote, the News Letter asked four major Northern Ireland voices why they are supporting Brexit or staying in the European Union. We have two responses for Remain and two for Leave. Here Arlene Foster explains her view:
Next Thursday the people of the United Kingdom have the opportunity to take back control by voting leave in the referendum. Having considered all the arguments, for and against, I believe voting leave is the right thing to do for our country.
I believe in the principle of sovereignty and when we joined the Common Market we accepted it would be ‘pooled’. Yet what we joined, what exists today and what will exist in the future are very different things – the push for an EU state, the power of the unelected and unaccountable Commission, the ever increasing policy areas the EU claims competency over, the decline of national vetoes and use of qualified majority voting - these all combine to mean we are no longer ‘pooling’ sovereignty we have and will be expected to surrender it. a
The EU has consistently refused to turn from this path and has consistently refused to reform itself. Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole should take back control.
The EU will become an ever increasing burden on us. EU funds for Northern Ireland have dropped significantly in the last year and even that is an untruth. The UK is a net contributor so it is really British money under the EU label.
Worse in the next few months, we could be asked for billions more. The EU budget is £20billion pounds overspent and we could be asked to pay an extra £2.4bn.
This is even before you have the German calls for 10% of the budget for the migration crisis. In future years, the EU will have new poorer member states that will see even more money needed while the Euro currency continues to drag down the EU economy. The £350m a week to the EU will rise and rise.
What has strengthened my resolve as the debate has progressed has been the shameful behaviour of the IN campaign. I could fill every page of this paper with a rebuttal of their claims but I shall focus on the Union, the border and agriculture.
In 2014 the SNP had the question they wanted, the electorate they wanted and a very high oil price. They lost. The latest polling shows that 56% of Scots would vote to stay in the UK after a Vote Leave. What will win and keep Scotland in the Union is a confident and positive case not one that cowers in the corner.
The Common Travel Area existed before we joined the European institutions and includes non-EU members already. The UK and Irish governments have agreed neither wants that to end and I wholeheartedly agree. So how will these mythical border posts appear?
As for farming, I am a daughter of the soil and still live in a rural community. I need no education on the importance of agriculture and believe farmers can be provided for as well if not better after we Vote Leave.
On 23rd June grasp the opportunity of a generation and vote to leave.
Arlene Foster is DUP leader and first minister