A group calling for Ireland’s exit from the European Union gathered outside City Hall yesterday evening and burned the EU flag in a bid to send a clear message to Europe.
Lead by Cork County Councillor Diarmuid Ó Cadhla, the People’s Convention (CPPC) held a public forum on the steps of City Hall to coincide with Europe Day, demanding a referendum on Ireland’s EU membership.
“It is time we had the discussion nationally, we believe it is time we should have a vote and leave the European Union,” Cllr. Ó Cadhla said, addressing the group.
“Let’s establish equal terms of trade with the other nations of Europe with whom we should have a good relationship with,” he added.
Ireland has not benefited from being a part of the EU, according to the CPPC.
“The EU would have us believe that Ireland has benefitted greatly from its membership but in fact, the opposite is the case,” group member Tony Walsh said.
The protest comes on the day a nationwide Red C poll on behalf of the European Movement (EM) Ireland revealed that almost 90% of people agree that Ireland should remain as part of the EU.
The poll also revealed that 87% believe that Ireland has benefited from being a member of the EU, while just 16% said they believe Ireland should follow the UK out of the EU.
After an EU flag was burned in a bid to send a “clear and unambiguous” message, the group unveiled a sign that read: “We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland.”
“When we look back on 1973, we know of the primary reasons Ireland went into the European Union was because our neighbours, our largest trading partner, the UK was going in there and for us, there was no option,” Cllr. Ó Cadhla said.
“It was a must do. We were also given promises of prosperity and so on,” he added.
“But what has happened? Today, Ireland has the highest level of homelessness since the Great Famine, an Górta Mór. We have a lack of future for young people, everyday life is filled with anxiety for families all over the country of all ages.” “Every week still, €2 billion of trade goes from this country across the water to the UK. If the current status continues then all of that will be at a complete standstill.”
“We have vast wealth and all the advantages to insist on proper terms of trade and thus ensure the future well-being of the Irish people.”
When asked if he believed there would be widespread support for Ireland to exit the EU, Cllr. Ó Cadhla said: “There will be in time, yes. There definitely will be. I bet you as well that within two years all the parties will switch over and see the necessity for it because they will have no option.”