An Ulster peer who supported a Remain vote in the EU referendum has said that those on her side of the debate need to listen to what the Leave side was saying.
Baroness Nuala O’Loan, the former police ombudsman, said that many of those who voted to leave the EU were young people who saw a future within the EU which offered them scant prospects.
In comments which she made in the House of Lords on July 6, Baroness O’Loan – who is married to former North Antrim SDLP MLA Declan O’Loan – told peers that “we are in the territory of the unimaginable” after the Brexit vote.
She said: “Perhaps the first reality that we should face is that we remainers need to listen to what the leavers were saying.
“Many of those who voted to leave were young people who have lost hope in the future because of the place to which our society has come. Their concern is real.
“Many of them with university degrees cannot get work. They must work in minimum wage jobs for years.”
Baroness O’Loan said that there is “deep angst about the nature of our society, about globalisation, about those deepening inequalities, about bailing out bonds that should have been burned”.
She went on: “As a Union we did not permit the burning of the bonds, so many of our young people are stuck on minimum wage with no prospects, no pension arrangements and serious emerging mental health issues.
“School pupils, in particular, are faced with endless pressure to achieve, yet face so little in terms of opportunity in this brave new world which we have created.”