Irish PM urges Britain to join single currency

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Indy Politics

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, yesterday urged the British Government to join the European single currency, in a move that will put pressure on Tony Blair to clarify his policy ahead of a general election.

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, yesterday urged the British Government to join the European single currency, in a move that will put pressure on Tony Blair to clarify his policy ahead of a general election.

Mr Ahern said the benefits of membership of the euro would outweigh the "short-term difficulties" posed by the weakness of the currency.

He said: "Ireland would clearly benefit from British participation and I remain convinced the positive impact of the euro in further strengthening the single market will become clearer over the medium term."

Speaking at the national conference of the Confederation of British Industry in Birmingham, Mr Ahern added: "This decision is obviously a matter for the British people alone."

The public intervention by the Irish leader is likely to re-ignite a troublesome political issue that the Government has kept under wraps while dealing with the recent floods chaos.

The Government's official policy is to join in principle but that the timing is subject to five economic tests and winning a referendum, probably in the next Parliament.

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