Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PASCHAL DONOHOE THE REFERENDUM; Ahead of a Visit to Newcastle Today, Irish Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Outlines Why He Hopes People in the North East Will Vote to Stay in the EU

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PASCHAL DONOHOE THE REFERENDUM; Ahead of a Visit to Newcastle Today, Irish Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Outlines Why He Hopes People in the North East Will Vote to Stay in the EU

Article excerpt

Byline: Paschal Donohoe

ARRIVING in Newcastle today will bring many a fond memory back for me. That's because before I entered Irish politics, I spent a very happy year working for Procter & Gamble in Gosforth, here in Newcastle. And not only that, but it was here that I met the woman that was to become my wife. So I've a lot to thank Tyneside for - both personally and professionally.

What struck me then and what still captures me is the strength of the relationship between Newcastle and Ireland. Let alone our ties thanks to Shay Given, the business connections between the North East and Ireland are very strong, with Irish owned companies operating here, including CRH, Jury's Inn, Kerry Group, Glanbia, Flogas, among others.

So many small businesses on both of our islands interact, make deals, trade goods and support jobs on a daily basis. It's those connections that have resulted in the UK and Ireland trading goods and services between our countries to the tune of almost [euro]1.2bn each week. That isn't a typo - that does say 'billion' and 'per week'.

Given these connections, given we are your closest neighbour and given that Irish citizens resident in the UK hold a vote (yet another one of our connections), I wanted to outline the Irish government's views on the topic that is of such major importance to all of us. That topic is of course, your upcoming EU referendum.

To be clear - it is our sincere hope that the UK will decide to stay and work with us for a better, more effective European Union.

I say this for four main reasons.

Firstly, for the sake of the EU itself. The EU needs renewal and we need a strong UK on board to help the Union become strong again through new reforms to deliver new jobs and opportunity for our people. You are good at the business of the European Union and we would like you to stay at that table.

Second, for the sake of Northern Ireland. While it is not always sufficiently acknowledged, the EU has made an important contribution to sustaining peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland. The EU has directly provided and will continue to provide much-needed funding to Northern Ireland - almost [euro]3bn in the six years to 2020 - helping transition the Northern Ireland economy and creating new sustainable jobs. …

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