Local views ‘needed in EU debate’

12/07/2013. The new Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe at a press briefing outside the dail. Paschal Donohoe replaces Lucinda Creighton, who resigned last night after voting against the government on the abortion legislation. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland Ireland’s outgoing Europe Minister has called on Northern Ireland to make its voice heard in the debate over the UK-EU relationship. Paschal Donohoe (pictured) was speaking at the Linenhall Library in Belfast at the launch of ‘Northern Ireland and the European Union: The dynamics of a changing relationship’ by Mary C Murphy, a political analyst at University College Cork. “Common membership of the EU has been a force for reconciliation and a framework for co-operation on this island,” he remarked. “Even in the context of the positive state of North/South and east-west relations, a British exit from the EU would have extremely serious consequences, irrespective of mitigation strategies.”

He noted that the deepening of North/South co-operation – under the Good Friday Agreement – had been complemented by the parallel development of the EU single market: “Removing or even shaking this foundation could be very damaging.” Donohoe affirmed that the UK and EU strengthened each other “in today’s globalised and multi-polar world.”

Murphy’s research offered “a valuable and definitive evaluation” of the relationship between Northern Ireland and the European Union.

In her book, published by Manchester University Press, Murphy connects Northern Irish politics with broader debates about European integration and governance.

It tracks the history of devolution and the author contends that regional autonomy is limited by a series of national and regional constraints, complexities and divisions.

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