Academic: Ireland Should Consider 'Irexit' to Avoid Brexit Damage
Ireland should seriously consider exiting the EU to avoid being left marginalised and economically damaged by Brexit, a leading academic in Dublin has said.
The economist Ray Kinsella said the country was too peripheral to the economic bloc’s core interests and Brussels could not be trusted to look after Ireland’s interests.
“Brexit means Ireland, which shares a common stance on key issues with the UK, is left marginalised, peripheral and dependent. That reality bears reflecting upon,” he said in an article in the Irish Times on Wednesday, quoted by The Guardian.
His views, while controversial, will be food for thought for Irish businesses, which face significant economic damage from the prospect of hard Brexit.
The Irish government recently rejected similar calls to consider an “Irexit” but Kinsella, a professor of banking and financial services and healthcare at University College Dublin, and a respected commentator on the Irish economy, argues that Ireland’s interests are so tied up with the UK’s that it may not be able to afford to stay within the EU.
The UK is Ireland’s biggest export partner and the prospect of tariffs, particularly on food including beef and dairy products, is seen as a significant threat to the economy.
Kinsella said Ireland would be more vulnerable if the UK left the EU because the bloc was a “flawed monetary union, skewed towards surplus countries”.
He also said the EU could not be trusted to protect Ireland’s interests. It would be “prudent” for voters to remember how the EU forced Ireland to pursue an onerous debt restructuring during the financial crash as part of its strategy to protect the eurozone, he said.
“Amnesia can be a terrible thing. It is only prudent to remember that in the bailout negotiations the European Central Bank cut the ground from underneath Ireland when we were at our most vulnerable,” said Kinsella, pointing out that the International Monetary Fund had advocated against the ECB’s harsh stance.
In 2010 and 2011 Ireland was forced into a €70bn bailout funded by the ECB, the IMF and the EU but the deal left taxpayers on the hook for private banking debt, leading to a tsunami of increased taxes, salary cuts, job losses, bust businesses and mass emigration.
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