Upper Bann Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said “Ireland’s place is in the European Union.”
Speaking following a Sinn Féin conference in Belfast last week, discussing the impact of a British exit from the EU, Mr O’Dowd said that to leave the EU would be a major blow to the economy of areas such as Banbridge.
Mr O’Dowd said: “There is no doubt that leaving the European Union would have a hugely negative impact on the economy of the North and in particular on those who rely on cross-border trade, agriculture and the agri-food industry.”
“The Executive has worked hard to market the North as a gateway to Europe in key international markets, creating thousands of well-paid jobs. Exiting Europe would close this gateway in the face of those companies who have invested here.
“Banbridge sits on the main economic corridor between Belfast and Dublin and benefits from EU trade.
“If ‘Brexit’ becomes a reality the local economy will be isolated from its main trading partner and the rest of Europe.
“Our society has benefited enormously from membership of the European Union for many years and it would be sheer madness to throw that away now.
Mr O’ Dowd concluded: “Our place is in Europe and we will continue to campaign that the entire island of Ireland remains in the EU.”