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Anglo-Irish relations in peril: Mary McAleese

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 17/06/2016

Warning: Mary McAleese
Warning: Mary McAleese

A Brexit would cause turmoil and would radically alter relations between Britain and Ireland, a former Irish president has warned.

Mary McAleese also claimed Ireland's peace and prosperity would be in danger if Britain voted to leave the EU.

She said: "Reassurances that nothing will change... are wishful thinking at best and bluffing at worse."

Mrs McAleese, who was President of Ireland from 1997 until 2011, was firmly behind the Remain campaign as she launched a new report from the British Influence think tank at Westminster.

In her speech, she urged British voters to avoid a choice for "drift" and loss of influence in Europe.

She also called for the 600,000 Irish citizens resident in the UK to vote stay.

Mrs McAleese said the benefits in Anglo-Irish relations now taken for granted could be put in peril, while the future of 400,000 jobs and the open road border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would also be uncertain.

"The concerns of Ireland are legitimate and well-founded," she added. "They involve the economy, trade, immigration controls, the hardening of the land border, security, the weakening over time of the excellent current relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the impact on the peace process and the impact on European development of Britain's voice being absent from the European Union table."

See Business, Page 34

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