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Kilclooney agrees with Fianna Fail's s Martin that Brexit is bad for Republic of Ireland

By Rebecca Black

Published 21/11/2016

Lord Kilclooney
Lord Kilclooney
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin says Brexit is bad for the Republic and Lord Kilclooney agrees

A former UUP MP has agreed with the leader of Fianna Fail that Brexit is causing real damage to the Irish Republic.

Ex-Home Affairs Minister John Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney, spoke out after Micheal Martin warned that the UK's vote to leave the European Union is impacting negatively on the Republic.

Mr Martin warned an urgent plan was needed to deal with the "slow-motion crash".

"In the five months since the UK's Brexit vote, the only things which are clear are that their policy is a shambles and that it is already causing real damage on this island," he warned.

"Brexit is not something which is happening in two years, it is happening now."

Mr Martin also demanded the EU suspend normal state aid rules for worst-hit Irish industries.

Speaking at a commemoration for Sean Moylan, an IRA commandant in the 1920s and later government minister, at Kiskeam in Co Cork, Mr Martin also lashed out at the UK, accusing the nation of "backward-looking nationalism" over the Brexit decision.

Last night, Lord Kilclooney at first lambasted what he termed "the usual hysteria and anti-British rhetoric" of Fianna Fail.

However, he then changed tack to agree with Mr Martin.

"Micheal Martin is right to declare that Brexit is causing real damage in the Republic," he added.

"Likewise, its Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, has already confirmed that the Republic will suffer more from Brexit than any of the other 26 EU nations.

"With exports already down 4%; mushroom plants closing; Irish beef prices falling; thousands of shoppers from the Republic of Ireland rushing up to Northern Ireland and a decline in tourist numbers from the UK, urgent action by the Government in Dublin is now required."

Lord Kilclooney said it is time that "economic reality prevailed".

"Within these isles - I do not use the term British Isles - we have a shared history, sport, culture, language, and, above all, trade," he added.

"That trading arrangement is now under challenge. It is time that economic reality prevailed.

"Assuming the Republic rejoining the UK or leaving the EU is not on the political agenda - yet - there must be a united effort in Dublin, Belfast, and London to achieve a special status for the Republic following Brexit, in order to avoid the clouds of economic despair which Micheal Martin correctly identifies." Earlier this year, the UK voted by 51.9% to 48.1% to leave the EU.

However, there were regional variations in the result, with Northern Ireland voting by a majority to remain in the EU.

Meanwhile, 150 days on from the result of the EU referendum, the SDLP has published 150 questions for the Northern Ireland Executive.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood accused the Executive of using the uncertainty caused by Brexit as an excuse for paralysis.

He said: "Today the SDLP is publishing 150 questions which we are asking of every government department at Stormont.

"These are questions which we continue to submit to the Northern Ireland Executive.

"They range from economic and business questions on our place in the single market, social questions on the effects on our community and voluntary sectors, education questions on the status and impact on our universities and questions around the security and future faced by our farming families."

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