Ireland has an interest in British EU referendum – Taoiseach

Decision is ‘critical’ to relations with Northern Ireland, Kenny says

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘It is important to note that there are significant numbers of Irish citizens living in Britain.’ Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘It is important to note that there are significant numbers of Irish citizens living in Britain.’ Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

 
Enda Kenny

Brexit] is “one for the British electorate”. However, he told the Dáil it was not the same as the Scottish independence referendum “because this country has an interest in it”.

Mr Kenny was responding to Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien, who said “the outcome of the referendum in the North alone will determine the relationship between this State and the Six Counties”.

Mr Kenny said he was aware of comments by DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and First Minister Arlene Foster. Mr Dodds had said that “for politicians outside the United Kingdom to tell us how to vote and lecture us as to what is best for Northern Ireland is disrespectful and will be counterproductive”.

Future comments

Mr Kenny said: “Far be it from me to try to direct the British electorate or the electorate of the United Kingdom as to what way they should vote.

“However, it is important to note that there are significant numbers of Irish citizens living in Britain.

“Owing to the common travel area, many of them have been there for many years. Therefore we have an interest in this.”