Irish ambassador Dan Mulhall urges Britain along path at heart of Europe

 

Deputy Political Editor

The new Irish ambassador to Britain has sounded the alarm over this country’s rising tide of Euroscepticism, urging the UK to remain “fully engaged” in the European Union.

Dan Mulhall said Ireland, which sells a fifth of its exports to Britain, was worried by the “unwelcome element of insecurity” caused by debate over the UK’s place in Europe.

In an interview with The Independent, Mr Mulhall also spoke of his pride over how immigrant workers from eastern and central Europe have integrated into Irish society.

His comments reflect the dismay in Dublin over the impact of the continuing political turmoil in Britain over the EU on the Irish economy.

Mr Mulhall, who arrived in London last month, said: “The debate here simply introduces an unwelcome element of uncertainty in a situation where we have been partners in Europe for the last 40 years.

“We in Ireland can’t be indifferent to this debate. We cannot ignore it and say it’s simply a matter for Britain because it will have implications outside of Britain and particularly for Ireland.”

Mr Mulhall said any change in “the nature of Britain’s engagement with the European Union” would have an immediate effect on Ireland.

“We have a stake in the outcome of this British debate,” he said. “What I have been saying, what Irish ministers have been saying, is we hope Britain will remain fully engaged in the European Union. We think it’s good for British-Irish relations, good for Europe and ultimately good for Britain.”

Ahead of Romanians and Bulgarians receiving unrestricted rights in January to work anywhere in the EU, Mr Mulhall compared the ease with which workers from new EU states have been assimilated in Ireland without the hostility they have faced elsewhere.

“There are proportionately more people from the member states that joined in 2004 in Ireland than there are in Britain,” he said. “I’m proud of the fact that this has worked extremely well, even in a country like Ireland, where there is no tradition whatsoever of immigration.

“There’s a lot of populism around at the moment in Europe and I’m happy to say that in Ireland we have retained a strong, pragmatic political debate which has not drifted towards that kind of populism.”

Mr Mulhall said relations between Britain and Ireland were better than they had ever been. He mainly attributed this to the continuing peace in Northern Ireland. He said the Troubles had “cast a pall over Northern Ireland and further afield and did clearly complicate relations between Britain and Ireland”.

He said the Queen’s visit to the Republic in May 2011 was an “extraordinary success” and a landmark moment.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms