Martin stresses that there are consequences for Ireland if we do not remain full members of the European Union

Speaking this afternoon at the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Ireland's future in the European Union the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin T.D. said that:

“There is an appreciation that the result of the referendum reflected serious and genuinely-held concerns, and that it has consequences not just for Ireland, but for the EU as a whole.
It is also clear that we need to communicate more effectively with the Irish people about the work the EU does on their behalf and the very real benefits this confers. 

Ireland has been an active and successful member of the European Union for more than three decades. We have achieved a lot and we have contributed a lot. But as the Union continues to change and grow, it is right that we take the time to consider what EU membership means for Ireland and to reflect on the lessons to be learned from our referendum.  We need to ensure that we are correctly positioned to promote and defend the interests of our people into the future. 

We want to continue deriving maximum benefit from our European involvement and to continue making a distinctive contribution to the evolution of the Union.  Irish people remain positive about, and strongly committed to, our future in the European Union. Irish people have thrived within the European Union. We have found our feet as a nation and made our voice heard. Our involvement in the EU has become a central and productive part of our national life. We owe it to future generations to secure that vital relationship with our European partners.  This provides an anchor for us in difficult times and a powerful motor for our continued national development.

I firmly believe that we must do everything in our power to keep Ireland at the heart of the EU.  There is much that will be lost if we permit ourselves to drift into an isolated, peripheral relationship with our fellow members of the European Union with whom we have so much in common and with whom our interests are so strongly intertwined”.    

Ends+++
11th November 2008
Press Office

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