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Enda Kenny prepared 'Remain' speech for Brexit

By Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny prepared a draft speech welcoming Britain's decision to "remain in the EU" and congratulating the then-Prime Minister David Cameron, new documents reveal.

Mr Kenny had prepared to say he was "delighted" the UK decided to remain in the EU and described the vote as a "positive result for us all".

In the speaking notes, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act, the Taoiseach expressed warm "congratulations" to British Prime Minister Cameron, who has since resigned.

"I am very pleased the United Kingdom has decided to remain a member state in the European Union. This was a very hard fought contest," the Taoiseach's statement said.

"The union must now focus on the real challenges it faces in promoting its people's prosperity and security.

"But happily, in facing these challenges, we will stand together as a union of 28 member states, ready to engage, to negotiate and to chart a way forward on behalf of all of our citizens," it added.

Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy prepared a similar draft speech to be delivered on June 24 - the day after the referendum paving the way for Britain to leave the EU.

Mr Murphy was to deliver the speech ahead of a meeting of Europe Ministers in Luxembourg which took place the day after the vote.

The FoI documents also reveal extensive preparation for both outcomes of the referendum.

The strategy for a 'Leave' vote included a Whatsapp group which was to be set up to allow key staff members communicate with each other about ministers' media appearances.

The schedule also showed Mr Kenny was due to contact EU and Opposition leaders on the morning of the vote result, after which he would call his own Cabinet ministers.

A questions and answers briefing note prepared before the British vote said it would "be difficult to imagine a situation" where there would be no customs border between the North and South of Ireland if the UK leaves the EU.

Contingency plans and actions were also prepared ahead of the vote.

Irish Independent


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