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Brexit could bring return of Irish border controls, says Enda Kenny

By Cormac McQuinn

Published 26/01/2016

Prime Minister David Cameron greets his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny outside 10 Downing Street
Prime Minister David Cameron greets his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny outside 10 Downing Street

A British exit from the European Union "would create serious difficulties for Northern Ireland", the Taoiseach has said.

Enda Kenny issued his stark warning after meeting Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10 in London yesterday.

Mr Kenny pledged his support for the British Government in its attempts to negotiate EU reforms in the areas of sovereignty, competitiveness, economic governance and migration ahead of the so-called 'Brexit' referendum.

The Taoiseach said all of the UK Government's issues of concern "can be concluded successfully and strongly in the interests of everybody throughout the union."

Mr Cameron said his government has made "good progress" in the negotiations.

Mr Kenny, who previously warned that a 'Brexit' could mean a return to border controls with Northern Ireland, was asked how it could impact on the peace process. "The guns are silent and this has taken a great deal of work from so many people over so many years," he said.

"We've complemented the politicians who've lived up to their responsibilities in respect of the fresh start which took 10 weeks before Christmas to finalise.

"We should not put anything like that at risk and, from our perspective, it [a British exit from the EU] would create serious difficulties for Northern Ireland were that to happen," he cautioned.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny invited Mr Cameron to come to Ireland as part of the 1916 Easter Rising centenary commemorations.

Mr Kenny said the pair had discussed the "comprehensive, inclusive, sensitive" centenary celebrations of the rebellion.

Mr Cameron acknowledged the anniversary of "important events in our shared history". He added: "We'll mark them, as we should, in a spirit of mutual respect, inclusiveness and friendship."

Suggestions last year that a member of the Royal family could be invited to take part in the main State celebrations provoked an outcry. The proposal was then binned and a decision taken that will see Dublin-based ambassadors as the only representatives of foreign governments asked to attend events on Easter weekend.

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