Michael Fitzmaurice has called for an Irish referendum on the UK's Brexit deal
The terms of the exit deal, which will be negotiated over the next two years, cannot be agreed unless they are ratified by an Irish referendum, Michael Fitzmaurice has claimed.
This is necessary due to the extent to which Ireland will be effected by Britain leaving the bloc, said independent member of parliament for Roscommon-South Leitrim.
Mr Fitzmaurice said: “The implications of a bad deal or no deal at all for Ireland on the Brexit negotiations are huge and any agreement reached between the EU and the UK should be voted on by the Irish people.
“We do a huge amount of business with the UK, especially in the agri sector, and any deal reached on the Berxit negotiations will have fundamental effects on our farming and food industry.
"Ireland must be front and centre at those talks and not watching on from the sidelines.”
Michael Fitzmaurice said Irish people needed a vote on the final deal
He said Irish people needed a veto vote not simply to ensure relations with Britain remained strong but also to re-assert the island as a major player at the EU.
Mr Fitzmaurice said: “Ireland used to have a veto on important matters at EU level but that’s now gone. We see the UK and the EU playing hardball in recent weeks, and while they can fight if they wish we must get in there are make sure we get a good deal on behalf of the Irish people.
Ireland will suffer when the UK leaves the EU
“I am firmly of the opinion that whatever deal emerges from the negotiations should be voted on by the Irish people and we should show the EU and we are prepared to stand up and fight for our interests on this vital issue.”
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This is not the first time Mr Fitzmaurice has spoken in favour of an Irish referendum on accepting the terms of the Brexit deal.
Last month he said the risk of things going “pear-shaped” made a vote a necessity.
Brexit Negotiations: Britain's sternest enemies
Tue, April 4, 2017
According to a new index, the EU27 countries fall into three groups: hard-core, hard and soft. These are the countries with the highest scores which indicate a fairly strong opposition to Britain’s position
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France has the highest score in the index at 32.5
He said: “Our Taoiseach should go out there and announce it to them, put them out of joint if they have to, and say we are going to hold a referendum on this decision.
“If democracy is anything that we all believe in, the Irish people, in one of the most important of their lives, should deserve a referendum on this.”