David Norris calls Boris Johnson a ‘liar’ in Seanad Brexit debate

Ivana Bacik ‘dismayed’ by Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers’s leave stance

 Senator David Norris with colleagues before the first sitting of 25th Seanad at LeInster House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Senator David Norris with colleagues before the first sitting of 25th Seanad at LeInster House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Independent Senator David Norris called UK Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson a “liar’’ in a Seanad debate on the eve of the referendum.

“We all know Boris Johnson threw his hat in the ring and changed his position because he had his eye on the leadership of the Tory party,’’ he added. “And he is a liar.’’

Mr Norris said the use of the immigration issue in the UK campaign was “utterly obscene, disgusting and repulsive and it does not do credit to a great country like Britain’’. He said he was a reluctant supporter of Britain staying in the EU.

“I have always believed in Europe, but the Europe I believed in was a Europe of people,’’ he added. “It was a social Europe; it was not a Europe of financial institutions.’’

He said what had been seen recently was the naked exercise of power by unelected, unaccountable European financial institutions to the great detriment of the people.

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said most people would be “dismayed’’ at the position taken by Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers on the leave side.

Disastrous setback

Roy FosterIreland

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said Ireland wanted the UK, “as a friend, closest neighbour and partner’’, to remain a member of a reformed EU.

“This is a view which enjoys near-unanimous support within both Houses of the Oireachtas, though I recognise and respect that there is a different point of view,’’ he added.

Mr Flanagan said the reasons underpinning the Government’s position would be familiar to the House: the economy, Northern Ireland, the common travel area and the EU itself. He said the Government respected fully the decision ultimately lay with the UK electorate, but it had striven to put across the Irish perspective.