Speaking on the Seanad’s Order of Business today (Tuesday), Fine Gael Senator and Government Seanad spokesman on EU Affairs, Neale Richmond, called for a Seanad debate on the future of Europe and how Ireland’s position might look in that future vision.
“Sixty seven years ago today, Robert Schuman wrote his declaration which began the process of European integration. From these simple beginnings designed to bring peace to the continent, the European project has grown to become one of the world’s finest economic, political and social triumphs.
“Today on Europe Day it is heartening to read the results of a recent European Movement poll showing that 88% of Irish people think Ireland should remain in the European Union and that 87% of Irish people believe that Ireland has benefitted from membership of the EU.
“Furthermore the recent election results in the Netherlands and France are a welcome tonic to the disaster that is Brexit.
“As a proud European, this poll and these election results are obviously very heartening to me but we cannot take such positivity for granted.
“With the backdrop of the ongoing Brexit discussions, now is an ideal time for us to plan Ireland’s future at the heart of Europe. We can use our continued, positive, membership of the EU to develop our economic and social ties with the remaining Member States and to also agree lucrative trade deals with other countries, following the beneficial models of trade deals already agreed with countries such as South Korea and Canada.
“I am calling on the Minister to come into the Seanad to kick off this debate, to take on the negative arguments and to lay out the obvious benefits of Ireland committing itself to a long-term, prosperous membership of the EU.”