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PLAY IT BY EAR Ireland leaving European Union shouldn’t be dropped from the table in Brexit negotiations according to top Irish diplomat

Ex Irish Ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and Bahamas says we should keep all our cards on the table

The move, which some are calling an ‘Irexit’ would see Ireland follow their main trading partners the United Kingdom out of the EU.

Ireland’s position in the EU has become more unclear since Brexit

Ray Bassett, ex Irish Ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and Bahamas told the Irish Independent we should keep all our cards on the table.

“We certainly hope we can continue as an active and supportive member of the EU, but we should rule nothing out. If we are determined to stay in at whatever the cost, then our bluff may indeed be called.”

He said Ireland’s welfare isn’t a priority in the Union.

“In Brussels, as we saw in the infamous bailout and other matters, Ireland’s national interest does not carry much weight nowadays,” he said.

Ray Bassett was the Irish Ambassador to Canada, The Bahamas and Jamaica

He said that Ireland’s trade links to the UK mean more than links to the rest of the EU combined.

“Ireland’s indigenous SMEs and its labour market remain inextricably linked to Britain. The relationship in these areas is still more important to us than our relationship with the rest of the EU,” he said.

And he said that Ireland’s influence will only dwindle when the UK isn’t around to back what common interests they share.

“Post-Brexit, and on the assumption that Ireland will remain a member of the EU, the country will find itself alone inside the EU.

“The present instruction is that, at all costs, no indication can be given by our officials that our continued membership of the EU is in any doubt, regardless of the outcome of negotiations on Brexit. The policy is very much at odds with our national interest and in effect, no Irish government can give that assurance.

“In the end, membership of the EU is a matter for the people of Ireland. If the terms offered to Ireland after Brexit mean we simply cannot live with them, then clearly our membership of the EU will be up for grabs.”

Acknowledgements to the Irish Sun newspaper.

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