Europe – Why staying in is important – An Irish perspective

To me Europe is important, I don’t feel threatened by it and I am certainly not a Little Englander wishing for past glories to return. Nor do I believe many of those daft press stories about the EU bossing us around. Such stories may well fill newspapers but that does not mean they are true.

For me the peace and stability that the EU has helped to bring to a continent that had previously always been at war is worth a lot. Of course Europe is nowhere near perfect and of course it never will be. How can it be with so many completing national interests on the table all the time.

Last Monday evening Jen and I went to hear what the Irish Ambassador to the UK (Dan Mulhall) had to say about Europe and it was a fascinating talk in the University of Liverpool’s Leggate Lecture Theatre in the Victoria Museum on Brownlow Hill. Cllr. Sue McGuire the Lib Dem Leader on Sefton Council was there with her family together with other prominent Merseyside Lib Dems such as Kris Brown and Paul Clarke.

Irish Ambassador to the UK, Dan Mulhall

Irish Ambassador to the UK, Dan Mulhall

One interesting issue that would probably not occur to most of us (unless we have strong/close ties with Ireland) is what on earth will happen with the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic if Britain leaves the EU?

In reality the effect of the peace process in Ireland and the fact that both counties are in the EU has been that the border is all but non-existent in all practical terms. But should we leave the EU that boarder will again become an external border as the Irish Republic will be staying in the EU. Now that’s a worrying thought indeed.

Clearly the Irish have far more open minds to the EU than many Brits seem to have yet Ireland is a very small nation with far less clout than we have. I wonder why many of of us fear partnership and crave isolation? Instead of driving the car we content ourselves with hitching an EU lift now and again.

Being a trade unionist also means that I appreciate the positive effect that the EU has had on our working lives, working hours and prosperity.

So I am certainly in the ‘IN’ camp in the forthcoming referendum and listening to Dan Mulhall was useful and informative and it certainly helped to broaden my mind.