It is unfortunate that the local press reported (May 18) without challenge the ‘Leave.EU’ campaign’s assertion that Northern Ireland is a “net contributor” to European Union funds of £67 million each year.
Already the same day, the ‘Leave.EU’ campaign had been forced to admit to the BBC that it had omitted Northern Ireland’s share of the rebate from that total, meaning Northern Ireland is in fact, even on the ‘Leave.EU’ campaign’s own figures, a net recipient each year from the European Union of £58 million.
This means, put plainly, that leaving the EU would cost Northern Ireland at least £58 million each year – a cost borne primarily by farmers but also by small businesses.
Add to this the loss of funding for educational and business research, infrastructure (such as the York St Interchange) and underwriting of other projects (such as Ulster University’s new campus), and the penalty for leaving the EU becomes even more severe.
Throw in the rising cost of living (everything from groceries to mortgages), and the facts are quite simply that leaving the EU would come at a cost to households, businesses and public finances across Northern Ireland.
People are entitled to vote whichever way they wish on 23 June, but they must do so on the basis of facts, not fiction.
Ian James Parsley, Chair, European Movement NI, Newtownabbey