The outcome of the domestic British debate on the EU could have very significant implications for Ireland, and I have, of course, been closely following developments. No decision has yet been taken on the holding of a referendum. Indeed, the question of holding a referendum may only become clear after the next UK general election. My strong belief is that the UK is better off within the European Union, and that the Union benefits hugely from British membership. The UK is Ireland’s nearest neighbour and largest trading partner. The recent State Visit by President Higgins to the UK highlighted again the extraordinary breadth and depth of the excellent relations between our two countries. The contribution of our shared membership of the EU, where we have so frequently shared interests over the years, to the development of that relationship is not insignificant. For very many reasons, it is clearly in Ireland’s interest for the UK to remain in the European Union.
The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.