Seanad debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


3:30 pm

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I agree with Senator McDowell. He called it right last week with regard to the Prime Minister's and the Conservative Party's intent on no deal. Today's leak of the telephone conversation between the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Angela Merkel was not in good faith. It is obvious now that the Conservative Government is intent on no deal. We joined the EU with our British friends in the 1970s. We got parity of esteem for everybody from this country, ranging from diplomats to business people. My father and people from all over Ireland worked in the UK. They built the roads, taught the children and nursed the sick. They were well treated, but all is changed, and changed utterly. People do not fully realise what good allies we and the United Kingdom were in Europe. We are losing a good ally. However, one thing I have noticed, and this is not to speak on behalf of all the British people, is that sometimes people in the Conservative Party do not realise that we have parity of esteem now. We are not a colony of the United Kingdom.

Two figures come to mind. The GDP per capitain 2018 in the United Kingdom was $45,705 and in the Republic of Ireland it was $78,785. The UK's growth rate is 1.4% and Ireland's is 6.7%. Being in Europe has helped this country immensely, and particularly our relationships. The relationships we built led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to this country. I am aware from Westminster that this is about uniting the Conservative Party. It may bring about the break-up of the United Kingdom, but it will not mean the break-up of the EU, which has been the greatest peace project since the Second World War.


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