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Pro and anti-EU campaign sides both urge voters to turn out

Published 20/06/2016

Gerry Adams said nobody wants to see the return of trade barriers or border checkpoints
Gerry Adams said nobody wants to see the return of trade barriers or border checkpoints
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley says he is looking forward to meeting astronaut Major Tim Peake at a welcome home reception at 10 Downing Street.

Campaigners on both sides of the Brexit debate have made last minute rallying calls to voters in Northern Ireland.

And, while they will be hoping for radically different outcomes, there was common ground on at least one point - urging voters to cast their ballot on Thursday.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, who supports a withdrawal from the European Union, said: "This is the most important election for a generation.

"This is a vote people need to take.

"It is not like a general election. This cannot be changed in five years."

Mr Paisley was joined at Stormont by Conservative MPs Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove from the Grassroots Out movement.

He made a specific plea to the farming community, stating Brexit was an "opportunity to fix" the "unfair" farm payments system currently in operation.

Meanwhile, Mr Bone predicted a close result.

But, if everyone votes, he said: "We will wake up on Friday as an independent sovereign United Kingdom."

Later, Sinn Fein representatives warned against the possibility of sleepwalking out of Europe.

Also speaking from Stormont's Parliament Buildings, Gerry Adams appealed for a high turnout.

He said: "It is very, very close so people should not be apathetic.

"People should not be sitting down; people should come out and people should vote. No one should be apathetic and think it won't affect them.

"It will affect them in a very real way."

Four of the five largest parties in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Alliance Party, have backed the campaign to stay within the European Union.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which has the highest number of seats in the devolved Assembly, supports an EU withdrawal.

Such a move, according to Mr Adams, a former West Belfast MP who now represents Co Louth in the Dail, would have major implications for the economy and everyday life.

He added: "I don't think it is in the interests of any citizen here; it's not in Ireland's interests if one part of the island would be in the European Union and the other part would be out.

"Nobody wants to see the return of trade barriers or border checkpoints. It isn't in the interests of business, agriculture or the economy."

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