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This Irish woman's running as an MEP in London but says she has your interests at heart

NoelleAnne O’Sullivan’s focus is on Irish workers and businesses in London and she believes a British exit from the EU could have serious consequences for Ireland and for the Peace Process.

WE ARE JUST one week away now from the local and European elections and candidates are out pounding the pavements like there’s no tomorrow. With all of the political action going on at the moment, it can be easy to forget that we’re actually not the only ones who will be voting on 23 May.

In London, NoelleAnne O’Sullivan, who was born in Belfast but grew up in Donegal, said the new pro-European Union party she’s a member of, ’4 Freedoms’, is focusing on jobs, like many others. However, for O’Sullivan, whose family hail from Tipperary and Kerry, and who worked in Dublin for a number of years, the focus is much more personal.

The centre-right MEP candidate said that as an Irish person, she is concerned about the implications of an exit by Britain from the European Union.

“As we’ve seen from the recent visit by the Irish President to London, there’s a massive interest and a massive Irish community in the UK and in London,” she told TheJournal.ie. “We’ve seen that Britain is Ireland’s biggest trading parner and numerous small Irish businesses and large businesses go to the UK in order to expand and access bigger markets and set up businesses in London – specifically in the high tech sector.”

There are Irish people now commuting to London on a weekly basis for jobs particularly in the financial sector which makes up 60 per cent of jobs in London. So it’s dependant on the sector and if the UK is not part of the EU anymore, these people may have to search elsewhere like Frankfurt. It’s really to help the Irish community living in London and working in London and the businesses trading there.

O’Sullivan said a British exit from the EU, which would see the border with Northern Ireland become an EU border, could have implications for the Peace Process as there “may be political issues of Irish unity on the table”.

“We just don’t know what will happen with the North, it’s a delicate situation,” she said.

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“The fact that the UK and Ireland are both members of the EU has helped greatly the NI peace process, because we’ve been encouraged to work together for common peace goals,” O’Sullivan explained.

“The risk would be if in the Scottish referendum, Scotland votes to leave the UK, then that would make England more likely to leave the EU, which would be problematic for Ireland, and potentially bring back into harder focus issues that have been able to be resolved peacefully.”

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