Minister addresses Irish community in London over EU vote
Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy said Ireland and Britain were deeply connected
Minister Dara Murphy: his was the fifth visit to Britain by Government Ministers in the last two weeks ahead of the referendum on June 23rd. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times
Dozens of Irish citizens and local residents gathered in the Haringey Cultural Centre in North London last night, as the Government stepped up its efforts to encourage Irish people to vote in next week’s EU referendum.
At an event hosted by British Labour MP David Lammy, Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy said Ireland and Britain were deeply connected through the ties of trade, history and the common travel area.
“We fully accept and acknowledge that this is of course a matter for the people of the United Kingdom. but it is a referendum that will have consequences for us, as your neighbouring nation and indeed for the European Union itself.”
He said that while no one knew the true impact a British exit would have on the Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, “it appears inconceivable that there would not be some changes that would restrict the movement of people in both directions”.
Members of the Irish community, local residents and a number of Labour Party supporters were present at the event which was also attended by newly elected deputy mayor of London, Joanne McCartney.
Asked by one audience member about the EU’s proposed trade deal with the US and its implications for democracy, Mr Murphy acknowledged that there was public disquiet about the deal, but that member states were directly involved in shaping the trade deal which would have to be approved by each country.
Ireland’s Ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall said that while there had been much discussion in Britain about the erosion of sovereignty, “there is absolutely nothing inconsistent in being independent, fully sovereign and also being a member of the EU”.
Last night’s event marked the fifth visit undertaken by Government Ministers in the last two weeks ahead of the referendum on June 23rd, with Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, Minister of Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan meeting members of the Irish community in Britain in recent weeks.
Mr Murphy is due to meet his counterpart, British Europe minister David Lidington, today for talks, which will include discussions on the common travel area.