Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Voters must have their say in EU referendum

ANNA Lo has said she is strongly pro-Europe. But she has also said that even discussing the possibility of a referendum on our membership of the European Union would be "damaging" to Northern Ireland. Why? Does she not trust the people?

If we had followed the Alliance Party's position on the EU, we would be ruined economically.

For years they were ardent supporters of the UK joining the eurozone, a currency experiment that brought economic ruin to several EU member states, not least the Republic, which needed a multi-billion pound loan from the UK to stay afloat.

Had we followed the Alliance Party's policy, the UK would not have the ability to prop up the Republic's economy because we, too, would have been in crisis.

The growing consensus in Northern Ireland is that, while we should embrace the positive elements of the EU, we need substantial review and renegotiation of the terms of our membership. Most importantly, the people have to have their say in a referendum.

Whereas the majority of Northern Irish people want a more efficient, less bloated Europe that can deliver for Northern Ireland, Ms Lo's vision is one of greater federalism, more red tape and less accountability.

With the Alliance Party's views on Europe being so out of step with the general public, is it any wonder even discussing the possibility of a referendum worries their candidate?

CLLR JOHN STEWART (UUP)

Carrickfergus Borough Council

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