Renua wishes to make known its disagreement with the statements made by Phil Hogan to the Irish Times yesterday. We find that Mr Hogan’s suggestion that we consider cutting ties with Britain, and align ourselves in opposition to Britain in order to improve relations with other EU member states, to be unhelpful and potentially damaging to Irish interests. It is a modern day equivalent of Britain’s difficulty being Ireland’s opportunity.

BritainWe agree, of course, that we should be willing to work with our European allies to shape the agenda and reformation of the EU, but regardless of how much we may wish to move away from Britain we should be very aware of the potential consequences of taking an anti-British stance in the Brexit negotiations.

Brexit will have an impact on Ireland, both economically and socially, that it will simply not have on the other European countries; particularly with reference to Northern Ireland. In light of this we must be immensely careful to get through the Brexit negotiations, as far as is possible, without having damaged our relationship with either our British or European neighbours.

As such we should not seek to act to maximise the benefits to the British, or of particular interests within the EU, but rather the interests of Ireland and the Irish people. The fact that Britain leaves the EU does not cause it to magically disappear, and it will continue to be an important ally and trading partner of this country. Public announcements, by Irish members of the European Commission, that Ireland must turn its back on the British will only make the matter of navigating what could be difficult times for this country even more difficult.

Renua party leader John Leahy said the following “Brexit is going to have an incredible impact on this country, and handled badly it could lead to thousands of job losses and a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Now is not the time for Commissioners to start coming out and publicly stating that we must ‘cut our ties’ with Britain or that we must move against them in the negotiations. Hogan seems to think that once Brexit is over Britain will simply cease to exist, but it is still our closest neighbour, an immensely important trading partner, a destination for many of our children, and ensuring good relations with it is incredibly important to both the Irish economy and the continual success of the Northern peace process.”