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New campaign urges Irish people to vote in Brexit referendum

The campaign comes as a new report warns of the economic damage leaving the EU could cause Britain.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

AN IRISH ORGANISATION that works to develop Ireland’s relationship with the EU has launched a campaign urging Irish people living in the UK to vote in the upcoming referendum.

European Movement Ireland launched the campaign today, gearing it towards British citizens who live in Ireland and Irish people who live in the UK.

The campaign will try to get these people registered in time to vote in the ‘In-Out’ referendum on 23 June, when the UK will vote on whether or not to stay as a member of the European Union.

The campaign launch comes as a new report by the British Treasury warned that its economy could be six percentage points smaller than it would otherwise have been by 2030.

The report said a Brexit would cause “permanent” economic damage as Britain would never be able to negotiate quota-free, no-tariff access to the single market if Britons vote to leave in the referendum.

Campiagn

Called the #PhoneAFriend campaign, it will seek to spread the message to people to register who may not be aware that they are eligible to vote.

“It is worth noting that an estimated 500,000 Irish people based in England, Scotland and Wales, are eligible to vote on 23 June and can do so,” said Maurice Pratt, chairman of EMI.

EM-Brexit-Facebook-Profile-Pic Source: EMI

“Everyone will of course accept the final decision of the UK electorate but we hope that all of those who are eligible to vote will do so.

It’s vital that they have their say on the day, including Irish people who have a unique opportunity to participate in this important vote.

People have until 7 June to register their vote.

EMI is an organisation focussed on linking Ireland to the EU. Founded in 1954, it describes itself as an “independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation working to develop the connection between Ireland and Europe”.

Report

The new report by the UK Treasury published today warns about the negative impact leaving the EU would have on the country.

The report says that Britain will never recover from the economic damage leaving would have.

It puts a particular focus on the damage that could be done to the Northern Ireland economy, saying that leaving would damage trade with Ireland as customs controls may be introduced.

“Outside the customs union, goods being exported across the border could be subject
to various forms of customs controls and their liability to duty determined according to
complex rules of origin,” the report states.

This would affect the current high level of cross-border activity and trade flows.

However, the Leave campaign has dismissed the report.

John Redwood, a pro-Brexit lawmaker and former government minister, dismissed the Treasury analysis, comparing it to arguments made in favour of staying in the EU’s Exchange Rate Mechanism.

“The remainers were wrong then and they are wrong now – people should not trust their judgement on the EU,” Redwood said.

- Contains reporting from AFP.

Read: Custom checks at the border “necessary” outside EU, says UK government docs

Read: The EU has long passed its original purpose. Time for Brexit to kill it

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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