Touching upon Ireland’s possible withdrawal from the EU in an interview with Sputnik, Peter O’Loughlin, a founding member of the Identity Ireland party, specifically referred to a spate of challenges that Brussels is facing; he warned that all this may represent the beginning of the EU’s collapse.
His remarks came after economist Ray Kinsella said in his article in the Irish Times that Ireland should “seriously consider” leaving the EU.
Commenting on this, Peter O’Loughlin said that it is “in Ireland’s interests to leave the EU as well” especially given the fact that Britain and Ireland remain major trade partners.
He also drew attention to a whole array of challenges which he said have yet to be resolved by the EU.
“At the moment, the European Union is in a desperate state, facing a raft of threats, including Brexit as well as Poland, Hungary and the European Commission talks on migration and European sceptics’ sentiments. In many ways, I think this is really heralding the beginning of the break [up] of the European Union,” O’Loughlin said.
Addressing the consequences of Ireland leaving the EU, O’Loughlin specifically pointed to the fact that “the European and global economy are not performing particularly well” and that the main thing for Ireland amid these conditions is “to attract investments.”
When asked about how relations between Britain and Ireland will develop after Brexit, O’Loughlin suggested that they will definitely continue, saying that “nobody wants any major escalation and nobody really wants a hard border [between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland].”
“The only difficulty will be if Brussels tries to come between us,” he added.
Kinsella, meanwhile, said in his article in the Irish Times that Ireland’s interests are closely tied to those of the UK and that it risks being “left marginalized if it stays in the EU.”
In his view, Irish businesses could face significant economic damage from the prospect of hard Brexit. Earlier in July, the Irish government strongly rejected any notion that the country could leave the EU.
In March, member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Richard Wood told Sputnik that Ireland is likely to follow the United Kingdom out of the European Union, as maintaining ties with London is more important to Dublin than remaining an EU member state.
“Ireland will be the next country to leave. Ireland will leave at the drop of a hat because Ireland and Britain were always together. We are too close and our relations are more important for them than relations with the rest of the EU. They will not want to have a border,” he said.
The Irish government warned of the possible negative outcome of Brexit on the nation’s economy and raised awareness of maintaining the Irish-UK border open as a possible post-Brexit step.
According to Irish government statistics, more than 10,000 people live on one side of the frontier and work on the other, with 1.8 million cars crossing the border every month.
The United Kingdom held the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016.
The negotiations officially started on June 19, when UK Brexit Secretary David Davis arrived in Brussels to negotiate the terms with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier. The talks are expected to conclude by the end of March 2019.