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Focus on the positive impact European Union has made on Northern Ireland, urges Salmond

By David Young, PA

Published 11/06/2016

Alex Salmond is interviewed on Derry’s Walls yesterday
Alex Salmond is interviewed on Derry’s Walls yesterday

People here should reflect on the positive impact the EU has made in the region rather than the "extraordinary negativity" peddled by both sides of the referendum debate, Alex Salmond has urged.

Citing longstanding European Union support for peace process projects, the MP and former Scottish National Party leader said Northern Ireland was an example of the good the EU can deliver. The SNP's foreign affairs spokesman was in Londonderry to address business leaders at an event hosted by Derry's Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Salmond said he wanted to make a positive economic and social case for the UK's continued membership of the EU and he criticised the "negativity and scare stories" he said were emanating from both Remain and Leave camps.

"Northern Ireland has taught us that the fundamental principle of the EU - that when independent nations work together for a shared cause, for a common good - it works," he said. Mr Salmond said he had not travelled to Northern Ireland to issue "apocalyptic warnings of impending doom". "I leave that to others on both sides of this referendum campaign," he said.

"As it happens I think this extraordinary negativity is exactly the wrong way to conduct this debate. The heart of this case is a positive account of the substantial argument that Europe has been and is a good thing for Northern Ireland."

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