QUESTION NO: 276
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)
by Deputy Bernard J. Durkan
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 23/06/2015
To ask the Minister for Finance the extent to which his Department continues to monitor the ongoing situation which may lead to the United Kingdom exiting the European Union; if he expects the need to take any particular steps to protect the financial services sector here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government’s position on developments in relation to UK membership of the EU has been clearly articulated, in particular by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade: we very much want the UK to remain an integral member of the Union. This is important for both our economy and the ongoing development of excellent relations between Ireland and the UK. It is the Government’s stated position as well that the EU itself is stronger and more effective with the UK as a member.
The UK’s continuing membership within the Union is therefore a strategic objective for the Government. We are accordingly monitoring developments in the relationship between the UK and the EU very carefully in order to best understand the different interests at stake.
My Department is focusing, in particular, on the economic and financial issues involved. In this regard, a study is underway, under the Department of Finance/ESRI research programme agreement, on the macroeconomic links between the UK and Ireland in the context of joint membership of the EU. This includes trade and investment aspects of our relationship, including financial services. Another objective of the study is to identify and prioritise areas that require more detailed analysis. The research will be published in due course.
The UK Government is now committed to holding a referendum on its membership of the Union before the end of 2017 and we fully respect that this is an issue for the UK people to decide. However, our hope is that they will vote to remain in the European Union. The Government intends to play a constructive role when it comes to any negotiations within the EU on the terms of UK membership.