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Minister Pat Breen
Deputy Pat Breen.

Breen warns against Brexit

CLARE TD Pat Breen has claimed a European recession could follow if Britain votes to leave the EU.

“If the UK votes to leave the EU, we will find ourselves in unchartered waters. There is no precedent for such a move. No other country has ever sought to exit the EU. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union would come into play. Under this article, a country would automatically cease to be a member of the EU two years after it lodges official notification to withdraw if, in those two years, there is no agreement by the UK or member states to extend the date or a withdrawal agreement is set at a different date. Either way, there would be huge uncertainty and given the volatility of the markets, it is more than likely that the uncertainty would precipitate another European-wide recession.”

He said travelling across the border could become more difficult.

“Could Brexit mean the return to border controls? I note the recent comments of the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, that the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will remain unchanged. Nevertheless, there are questions to be answered. If the border were to become an EU external border and if at some point this country opted into the Schengen Agreement, it could spell trouble ahead. At the moment, the common travel area allows Irish and UK citizens to be treated equally, particularly in terms of passports and employment. There is also equality of access to employment, social welfare and health care, for example. If at some future date Ireland decided to join the Schengen Agreement and the UK was outside the EU, instead of breaking down borders, we would actually be building ones.”

Deputy Breen said that Ireland needs to back the campaign for the UK to remain.

“There are over 400,000 Irish people in the UK who are entitled to vote, with the Irish Diaspora at around five million, as well as 300,000 UK residents living here. While it is proper not to interfere in the democratic process of another sovereign state, we must raise awareness among the Irish of the consequences to their future entitlements in the UK and for the island of Ireland.”

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