Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher MEP has called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to play a greater role in encouraging Britain to stay part of the Eurpean Union, as Britain and Ireland’s economies are deeply interlinked.

Mr. Gallagher said that a UK exit from the EU would be particularly troublesome for border counties, in terms of trade and commerce.

Referring to the HGV levy which has been in place in Northern Ireland since April 1st, he said: “This is a penal and discriminatory tax on Irish hauliers transiting through Northern Ireland.

“If Britain were to leave the EU, problems such as the HGV road user levy would only become more commonplace and there would be a real possibility of border checks on the Island of Ireland if they do leave, which would be a total disaster.”

He further stated: “The history of Irish and British membership is inextricably linked with both countries joining the EU in 1973. To this day the UK remains Ireland's largest trading partner with €1 billion of trade in goods and services flowing across the Irish Sea every week. The close economic ties between our two nations mean that it is in our interest that the UK remains a central and engaged member of the European Union.”

“The rise of extreme parties is worrying. None more so, in my opinion than the rise of UKIP, particularly how the Eurosceptic party is now effectively shaping British policy towards Europe.”

He concluded: “Following on from the successful state visit by President Higgins to Britain in April, I strongly believe that the Irish Government including the Taoiseach must play a much greater role in encouraging Britain to stay part of the European Union, as our two economies are deeply interlinked.”

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