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AS IT HAPPENED: The UK is out, the EU is in shock and Ireland counts the cost

David Cameron is gone and Nigel Farage is celebrating. It’s been a long day.

THE UNITED KINGDOM voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52% to 48%.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he is resigning in the wake of the result, after he led the failed campaign to ‘remain’. Meanwhile UKIP leader Nigel Farage celebrated his biggest victory and called for other European countries to follow the UK’s lead.

We followed the reaction to this seismic event all throughout the day. Here’s how it unfurled.

  • For full coverage on the fallout both in the UK, Ireland and further afield, see here>

Hi folks, it’s Christine Bohan here, taking over the baton from Sinead O’Carroll who was following events overnight.

It has been an extremely turbulent few hours. David Cameron has announced his resignation, markets are bucking wildly around the world, and Nigel Farage has called it ‘a new dawn’ for Britain.

giphy (2)

Got any thoughts? Having a minor freak-out? Just want to vent? You know where the comments section is. Otherwise throw us an email to or tweet me @christinebohan.

Here’s a quick recap of where things stand right now:

  • The UK voted to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1%. 
  • David Cameron has announced that he is resigning as UK Prime Minister
  • Northern Ireland and Scotland both voted to remain, leading to speculation about what will happen next to both regions
  • Nigel Farage says it is a victory for ordinary people.
  • More than £100 billion has been wiped off the FTSE 100 so far – the biggest slump since 2008.

There’s a HUGE discussion about the referendum on Twitter right now, but two of the most retweeted reactions come from an unexpected source: Niall Horan from One Direction.

Boris Sky News Sky News

Boris Johnson, one of the clear winners of today’s referendum result, has just given his reaction, saying that it will help the UK  to “find [its] voice in the world again”.

“I want to reassure everyone that Britain will continue to be a great European power,” he said.

But there is simply no need in the 21st century to be part of a federal system of government based in Brussels that is imitated nowhere else on Earth.

It was a noble idea for its time. It is no longer right for this country.

Interesting reaction from a high-level source within the Irish government, who was speaking to our reporter Orla Ryan: 

“What were they thinking?”

An emergency meeting of the Cabinet is being held right now and Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to make a statement as soon as it is over (it’s already running 30 minutes over time).

Taoiseach Enda Kenny visit Dominic Lipinski / PA Dominic Lipinski / PA / PA

The government released a brief statement at 6.32am today, saying:

The Government notes the outcome of the UK EU referendum this morning.  This result clearly has very significant implications for Ireland, as well as for Britain and for the European Union.

BREAKING: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish parliament is going to prepare legislation for a second referendum on independence.

Nicola Sturgeon Sky News Sky News

She told a press conference just now that many people who voted against Scottish independence in September 2014 “are now reassessing their position”.

Scotland voted to remain in the EU, as did Northern Ireland, while England and Wales both voted to leave.

“I want to leave no-one in any doubt about this. I am proud of Scotland and how we voted yesterday,” she said. “We proved that we are a modern, outward-looking country”.

“I am determined that we will do what it takes to make sure that these aspirations [to remain in the EU] are realised.” 


From a BBC producer:

We talk about an urban-rural divide in Ireland, but this chart shows the geographic divide across the UK in yesterday’s vote.

Nine out of the twelve electoral regions voted  to leave, with the strongest showing in the West Midlands, while Northern Ireland, Scotland and London all voted to remain.

Leader and Spokesperson on Northern Ireland Michea Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Micheál Martin thinks David Cameron was reckless to hold the vote, and says the Conservative party stumbled into the referendum with little preparation, says our reporter Orla Ryan. 

The Fianna Fail leader told reporters:

We respect the decision of the British people in deciding to leave the European Union. We regret it. We think it’s a bad decision for Britain, for Europe, for Ireland and for the world.

Just when you think this day can’t get any more dramatic…

British Labour MPs have submitted a motion of no confidence in party leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

EU referendum Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / PA Wire

The BBC reports that two MPs, Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey, have sent a letter to the chairman of the Labour party calling for a discussion at the parliamentary party meeting this Monday.

Corbyn has been strongly criticised from within his party for campaigning halfheartedly for the UK to remain in the EU.

If the discussion on Corbyn’s leadership is allowed to go ahead on Monday by the party chairman, there will be a secret ballot of Labour MPs on Tuesday.

If Corbyn is forced to step down as leader, he will have served as Labour leader for just over nine months – one of the shortest tenures of any party leader in recent history.

Let’s just take a moment to note that if it were any other day, Donald Trump visiting Scotland would be getting a lot more headlines than it actually is.

Although this did just happen, so maybe there’s still time.


 2/12/2015.Pictured is Sinn Fein junior spokesper Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín on the Brexit result: “Normal functions north and south [of the border] will be massively impaled by this decision”.

Speaking to our reporter Orla Ryan, he said that day-to-day life could be hugely impacted for people who live along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, especially if they live on one side but work or go to school on the other side.

Northern Ireland was one of just three electoral areas out of twelve which voted to remain in the EU.

Tóibín said that many people in Northern Ireland have been in touch with Sinn Féin to ask about getting Irish passports.

Footballer James McClean appears to have deleted his Twitter account, 35 minutes after he tweeted this:

James McClean Screengrab Screengrab

McClean, who tweeted at JamesMcC14, was born in Derry and played for the Northern Ireland under-21 football team, but chose to play for the Republic of Ireland senior team.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has given a sort-of apology for saying that “not a single shot was fired” to achieve the EU referendum result, eight days after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot dead.

Asked by Channel 4 reporter Fatima Manji whether he thought it was an appropriate thing to say, Farage responded:

“Normally, to get independence you have to fight for it. We didn’t have to fight for it… But I understand what you’re saying and if that caused any offence, I apologise. ”

Early contender for Best Comeback of the Day:

enda kenny Orla Ryan / Orla Ryan / /

Speaking after the hastily-called Cabinet meeting a few minutes ago, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he will recall the Dáil to sit on Monday to talk about Brexit.

The Taoiseach told reporters:

- He is “very sorry” to hear the Brexit outcome but he fully respects the decision

- The Irish government has been working on contingency plans for this situation

- The implications of the result for Northern Ireland will be a priority for the Irish government and will require careful consideration

- Ireland’s close relationship with Britain will remain

- The government wants to minimise any possible disruption of people and goods.

EU referendum PA WIRE PA WIRE

Boris Johnson and others on the Leave side may have suggested that there is no rush for Brexit to take place, but the EU thinks otherwise.

The presidents of the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Commission - Martin Schulz, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker - met this morning, and have said that there should be no delay in Britain getting out of the EU. 

“This is an unprecedented situation but we are united in our response,” a statement from the three said.

“We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.

“Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way.”

You can read the full statement here:


6/3/2012. Occupy Dame Street Camps

The Irish Central Bank has issued a softly-softly statement, saying that it is “closely monitoring the financial market impact and the banking sector” after the Brexit vote. 

In line with our role to safeguard the stability of the financial system, the Central Bank has worked closely with banks and financial firms and measures are in place to address any immediate issues that may arise. The Central Bank is confident that the contingency measures that are in place are appropriate to address any such issues.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation over the coming days and are liaising with financial institutions, the Department of Finance and other domestic authorities, as appropriate.

29/3/2011. Dail debates Moriarty Reports

Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan says that while she has always been against being in the EU, she has “mixed emotions” today.

Speaking to our reporter Orla Ryan, she said:

“This is a wake-up call. There is a lot of anger out there about unelected officials making decisions that affect ordinary people in unfair ways.”

The Independent TD noted that although it is “far too soon” to say anything definitive, the result may be “the first step on the road to unity” in Ireland.

Ok, deep breath. Here’s a round-up of our coverage so far today. Everything you need to know about Brexit, basically.

The news

The UK has voted to leave the European Union 

David Cameron is resigning as UK Prime Minister 

‘See EU later!’: The frantic changes to UK front pages after shock Brexit result 

As it happened: Political and economic shocks as UK decides to leave the EU 


Did opinion polls get it wrong – again?

Brexit: How did it happen? 

The facts

Brexit: How the major cities voted 

Brexit Timeline: What happens next 

The Irish angle

The UK has voted to leave the EU – but what does this mean for Ireland? 

Sinn Féin wants a vote on a united Ireland after Brexit

Irish government puts contingency plans in place after shock Brexit result

Over €360 million wiped off value of Irish taxpayers’ stake in banks after Brexit vote 

Here’s what Ireland’s business leaders make of the Brexit hurricane 

The view from other countries

“Now it’s our turn”: Brexit sparks hope for Europe’s far right 

Now Spain says it’s close to taking back Gibraltar after Brexit / YouTube

This video by our reporter Nicky Ryan shows the extent of the victory by the Leave campaign.

The Leave side won 9 out of 12 electoral regions across the UK, while the Remain side won just 3 – Northern Ireland, Scotland and London.

EU referendum Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / PA Wire

Former Labour party spin doctor Alastair Campbell was just on Sky News and he spoke about the disconnect between voters and politicians.

“All these leaders [have been] saying to followers, “This is what you have to do,” and they’ve just replied, “No, no, no, we’re not having that,” he said.

There’s this disconnect…  These people have just heard ‘austerity, austerity, austerity’ for too long, and it’s added to the sense of disillusionment.

He was critical of how Boris Johnson appealed to people in the UK:

It’s incredible. Trump, this elitist, narcissist, multi-millionaire, privileged inheritance, and he’s the voice of the common man in the US. Johnson is an old Etonian, a Tory MP, and he’s the spokesman of the common man in Britain. It’s crazy stuff.

He also said that some on the Leave side have not considered the long-term impact of their vote:

All these people careering around with their Union Jacks, jabbing their fingers in your face. Fine, you can have that, but there’s consequences down the track you haven’t thought about.

Obama Supreme Court Immigration Andrew Harnik / AP Photo Andrew Harnik / AP Photo / AP Photo

US President Barack Obama has weighed in on the referendum, saying that the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom will remain unchanged. 

The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.

So too is our relationship with the European Union, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond.

The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world.

google trends Google Trends Google Trends

Google has released this list which shows the most-asked questions about the EU by people in the UK, ever since the Brexit result was officially announced this morning.

Slightly worryingly, the second question is “What is the EU?”.

Michael Noonan’s first comments about the referendum result are about how it’ll affect Ireland – and in particular our Budgets.

Enda Kenny just got a big cheer at the event for US vice president Joe Biden in Dublin Castle, when he told the assembled crowd that Ireland’s close relationship with the UK will remain despite Brexit.

However, our reporter Orla Ryan notes that the Taoiseach got an even bigger cheer for mentioning the Ireland win over Italy on Wednesday night.

Here’s the (very wet) crowd in Dublin Castle a few minutes ago:

24/6/2016 Biden Visit. Crowds of people at Dublin Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

24/6/2016 Biden Visit. Crowds of people queue in t Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is being pragmatic about the effect of the vote on Ireland.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has just spoken to David Cameron on the phone.

Enda Kenny visit to Downing Street The two pictured in January this year Matt Dunham / PA Wire Matt Dunham / PA Wire / PA Wire

During the call, which lasted 12 minutes, the two agreed that there will be “immediate bilateral contact” among British and Irish officials about significant issues stemming from the Brexit vote, including the Northern Ireland border and the common travel area. 

A government spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister called the Taoiseach to thank him for his support all through the UK-EU process, including at European Council level prior to the political agreement. They briefly discussed the referendum campaign and the closeness of the result. The Taoiseach said he understood the rationale for the PM’s stated preference for initiating negotiations with the EU after a new leader of the Conservative party has been selected.

It was agreed that it would be priority that there would be no interruption to the close bilateral work at political and official level on Northern Ireland. Moreover, it was agreed that there would be immediate bilateral contact between senior officials on the issues of mutual interest arising from the referendum, including the common travel area and the border.

There was a warm exchange, recalling the strong personal relationships that they had built over the last number of years. The Taoiseach wished PM Cameron and his family the very best for the future and they both looked forward to meeting in person next week

Speaking of Taoisigh…

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern spoke to Mary Wilson on RTE Radio One’s Drivetime programme this evening, and said that the UK is in a more difficult negotiating position than it may realise.

“People like Boris Johnson think that you can go to Europe, keep all the good things that you want and get rid of all the negative things you don’t like.

“Now, Christmas does come once a year, but I’m afraid it won’t come for him at all, it’s just not going to happen.”

Ahern said that Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, is “not going to be impressed with all of this”.

“Their [the UK's] negotiating stand is going to be tough. They’re not going to get rewarded for this.”

You can listen to the interview below.

RTÉ Radio 1 / SoundCloud

There has been a jump in the number of queries about applying for Irish passports today.

30/9/2013. Newly Designed Irish Passports Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

The Department of Foreign Affairs has told my colleague Aoife Barry that there has been a spoke in queries about entitlements for Irish passports since the UK referendum result this morning. 

There are also reports of an increase in passport queries in Northern Ireland too.

Google Trends noted that there was a spoke of more than 100% in people in the UK searching for “getting an Irish passport” after the vote on Thursday.

This is what it’s like to be popular.

There was no official exit poll last night, but a private poll – we don’t get a lot of them on this side of the Irish Sea – looked at the demographics of the people who voted.

The poll of 12,369 people found that that the older the voter, the more likely they were to have voted to leave the EU.

There was no difference at all in how different genders voted.  However, almost three-quarters (73%) of people aged 18 to 24 voted to remain, while 60% of people aged 65 or over voted to leave. Meanwhile the majority of people who were working either full-time or part-time voted to remain, while most people who were not working voted to leave.

LR-by-demographics-768x720 Lord Ashcroft Polls Lord Ashcroft Polls

You can read the full (fascinating) results here.

We mentioned earlier that two Labour MPs in Britain have put forward a motion of no confidence in party leader Jeremy Corbyn over his half-hearted campaign for the Remain side (among other things).

It looks like he’s undeterred (publicly, at least):

It’s Aoife Barry here, taking over the liveblog after a marathon effort by our deputy editor Christine Bohan.

AP reports that Barack Obama and David Cameron have spoken by phone – and the US President said he is confident that the UK is committed to an “orderly transition out of the European Union”.

Obama was on a trip to Stanford University when he mentioned the call during a speech. He also said that the “special relationship” between the US and the UK won’t be changing.

“It’s all about immigration,” one Leave voter from Barnsley in England tells Channel 4 in this vox pop about why people voted to exit the European Union.

‘Boris Island’ has a bit of an Irish ring to it, but it’s actually an imaginary island that the Independent features on tomorrow’s front page.

Once again, we see Boris Johnson the focus, thanks to the fervent speculation around the possibility of him becoming the next Prime Minister.

mcaleese Sky News Sky News

Former Irish president Mary McAleese has spoken of her disappointment over today’s result.

“It is rather disappointing that those who have championed Brexit have made so little effort at acknowledging this is really a situation, not that UK has voted to leave the European Union, but England and Wales have voted to leave the European Union,” she told Sky News.

She also said a problematic issue for the Republic of Ireland is the Peace Process and border with northern Ireland, given that the referendum was largely won on issues of immigration.

She said that if a referendum on a united Ireland was to be held tomorrow “undoubtedly I don’t think the decision would be for a united Ireland,” indicating that three or four years down the line the result could be different.

Italy EU European Parliament President Martin Schulz AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The EU Parliament leader Martin Schulz said that they want Britain out of Europe as soon as possible.

As the Guardian reports, Schulz said that EU lawyers are already studying whether it is possible to “speed up the triggering of article 50 of the Lisbon treaty” – that’s the very article that would allow the UK to leave the EU.

Of course, this would be the first time that article 50 has ever been used, so it’s very much an untested thing.

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is on the same page as Schulz. He said that it “doesn’t make any sense to wait until October” to try and negotiate the terms under which the UK leave.

So now that Brexit has been voted on, the EU appears to be firmly drawing a line – and telling Cameron and co that it won’t be a drawn-out affair.

And on that note, it’s time for us to wrap up today’s liveblog.

Thanks for reading along – and don’t forget we’ve been covering the many aspects to today’s referendum result.

Just click here to see the full range of stories.

That includes our latest FactCheck, which asks: Is Enda Kenny really obliged to work toward a United Ireland? Find the comprehensive answer here.

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