'Ireland should leave the EU to maintain its relationship with UK', says former Irish diplomat

'Ireland should leave the EU as it'll be better off by maintaining its relationship with UK', says former Irish diplomat

Ireland's border has been a key focus of Brexit concerns

Monday, July 3, 2017

Ireland should quit the European Union to preserve its relationship with Britain, according to one of the country's former diplomats.

Ray Bassett is calling for the Irish republic to leave the EU as he says the country regards the UK as its closest ally and believes Dublin can make its "own decisions" rather than relying on Brussels.

Bassett, who previously served as Ireland's ambassador to Canada, told Paul Ross: "We would be better off maintaining our relationship with the Untied Kingdom and trying to arrange a new set of deals with the European Union, rather than the other way around.

"Ireland could go to a position like Ireland or Norway where it stayed in the European economic area and at the same time had a customs union with the United Kingdom."

He also spoke about the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following Brexit, saying: "It would be a massive, massive disruption [to have a stricter border] and that’s one of the prices we have to pay in the balance between whether we should go with the European Union or the United Kingdom.

"The imposition of a border in Ireland is not something that divides nationalists and unionists. Both sides don’t want to see a border there."

Listen to the full interview above