A campaign to urge Irish voters living here to vote to keep Britain in the EU in the 23 June Brexit referendum was being launched this week in Westminster.
Irish4Europe describes itself as “a civic campaign established under the aegis of the European Movement to secure Britain’s future in the European Union” and is urging all Irish citizens living in Britain to ensure they are registered to vote at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Irish4Europe’s Brian O’Connell said that if the UK leaves the EU, the freedom of Irish people to travel and work freely between Britain and Ireland could be put in doubt.
“That freedom to travel is best secured by the two countries remaining together inside the EU. If the UK leaves the EU, border controls could be tightened and that could include the re-imposition of controls on the longstanding passport- free Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland.
“It could also change the open border arrangement that exists between Northern Ireland and the Republic,” said Mr. O’Connell.
Irish4Europe added that the scale of the economic risk to Britain of the UK’s departure from the European Union is unknown but could be substantial and could also cause collateral damage to the Irish economy.
The Irish government has frequently voiced its concerns over a possible “Brexit” with Taoiseach Enda Kenny describing it as “a major strategic risk to Ireland”.
Irish4Europe said the uncertainty over the future would be damaging to the British economy in which hundreds of thousands of Irish people have chosen to live and work.
Mr. O’Connell said: “If the UK votes to leave the EU, British businesses and the many Irish people who work in them will be in uncharted waters.
“Also the political and economic progress made in Northern Ireland, which has been greatly facilitated by Britain and Ireland’s shared membership of the EU, could be adversely affected by Brexit. “
The Irish community should think carefully before they vote on 23 June. There will be no second referendum and if the UK votes to leave the EU the decision will be irreversible.
Irish4Europe’s Key Campaign Points
• Be Referendum Ready: Irish citizens living in the UK can vote in this referendum and we have a stake in this decision. Make sure you’re registered to vote and that you use your vote to remain in the EU.
• Secure Your Freedom of Movement: Your ability to travel and work freely between Britain and Ireland is best secured by the status quo. It could in the future be restricted if the UK leaves the EU. Vote to keep Britain in Europe.
• Defend Your Rights: Irish people currently enjoy a more favourable status than citizens of other EU countries who live in Britain.
• Safeguard Your Future: The scale of the economic risk if the UK cuts itself off from the EU is unknown. That uncertainty could damage the British economy in which hundreds of thousands of Irish people live and work.
• Protect Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland’s political and economic progress could be affected if the UK leaves the EU. Trade across the open border with the Republic could be put at risk.
• Think Before You Vote: If the UK votes to leave the EU in the forthcoming referendum, the decision will be irreversible.