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Question: Do you want Brexit to happen? Should Ireland make concessions on the backstop?

Candidates differed on whether they wanted Brexit to go ahead or not.

In our audit of the Ireland South European election candidates, we asked each candidate to answer questions on nine of the most pressing issues facing Ireland and Europe in the coming years. 

Do you want Brexit to happen? Should Ireland make concessions on the backstop?

Colleen Worthington

Brexit is a decision for the British people and British democracy. We need a thoughtful, negotiated response that works for all parties and minimises the impact on Irish industry and Irish farmers.

Grace O’Sullivan

The Greens here in Ireland really feel a sense of loss because our closest neighbour, the UK, is pulling away from Europe. So we would really wish that Brexit wouldn’t happen.

We also have to look at it from our own perspective as well as an island nation on the western seaboard. So in that sense, we have to look at how we’re going to manage our own services and goods and movement of people and all around Brexit.

Ireland has to recognise itself as part of the union of Europe and I think we really have to use our alliances with European countries to make sure that we get the best for the Republic should Brexit happen. But, also we have to recognise that, even though I said England is our closest neighbour, Northern Ireland is our real neighbour. We’re all part of the same lifeblood system. In that sense, we have to ensure that the people in the North of Ireland are protected as part of the union of Ireland and I think that’s what we need to be working towards.

A combination of peace, justice and decarbonisation in Ireland but also in the North of Ireland because we must remember that our energy system is connected and so we work off the same system. So particularly in terms of decarbonisation, we look to the island of Ireland for that.

Liam Minehan

No, in a perfect world it would not but I believe it is going to happen and I think we should organise a good future for both communities.

Deirdre Clune

I do not want Brexit to happen and I don’t think that Ireland should make any concessions on the backstop.

Breda Gardner 

No, I don’t want Brexit to happen. And No, Ireland should not make concessions on the backstop. Peace in Northern was hard won and is still fragile, and we should not do anything that might bring back the dark days of the past. One of the best things about Ireland and the UK both being members of the EU was that de facto it reduced many of the tensions between the two countries.

Peter O’Loughlin

Yes. The European Union is on its last legs. We and our allies in Europe including the Lega party of Matteo Salvini understand this. The future of Europe is a new Europe of co-operative Nation states.

This is what we are focusing on.

Our allies are already preparing for this. The Alliance signed recently between Matteo Salvini and Victor Orban is a front line example of this.

Diarmuid O’Flynn

No, even if I happen to win the fifth seat in Ireland South and it means I would never get to sit in the European Parliament, no, I don’t want it to happen. But I think it will.

On the backstop, absolutely not. We’re an island and the thoughts of going back to any kind of border after all that bloodshed? Unthinkable.

Mick Wallace

No and no.

Jan Van De Ven 

If the people democratically said YES to Brexit then it should happen with a Deal or WTO No Deal. Even if the EU demands it, the Taoiseach should say NO to the border. Absolutely no border and he should not compromise on this point.

The Irish Government and/or the EU commission both have the obligation to find the money to stabilise the economic sectors severely affected by Brexit.

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Liadh Ní Riada

There is no such thing as a good Brexit.

The backstop is the least worst of bad options for Ireland. What I would like to see now, as a result of the disastrous Tory Brexit Strategy, is a border poll on the Reunification of Ireland.

Partition has been disastrous for Ireland and has held us back in terms of reaching our full potential.

I believe that an external EU border on the Island of Ireland would be detrimental to Ireland and we cannot permit the EU, London or indeed anyone else put one up, hard or soft.

Seán Kelly 

No, of course I don’t want Brexit to happen. And no, the backstop is non-negotiable.

Sheila Nunan


Labour’s members and politicians campaigned in Britain on the side of Remain, and our party leader has spoken at successive UK Labour Conferences in favour of the UK remaining in the EU.

We would love to see another people’s vote now that so much new information has been made available to British people about how Brexit will damage their livelihoods. Labour will insist on an open border and full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. We won’t compromise on that.

Andrew Doyle 

Source: Nick Bradshaw

I don’t think anyone here would have wanted Brexit to happen, but it’s not something that we in Ireland have brought about.

However, we must respect the vote of the United Kingdom’s people and their decision to leave.

Consequently, this decision impacts on us particularly, as the UK’s nearest neighbour.

The Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, cannot be re-negotiated, but MEPs must work to ensure an orderly withdrawal happens – so that people in key sectors in Ireland and Northern Ireland are protected.

About the author:

Kathleen McNamee

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