In Brief

Irexit: is Nigel Farage encouraging Ireland to leave the EU?

Former UKIP leader’s Dublin visit fuels fears of “Irish Brexit” bid

Ireland has shown little indication that it regrets joining the EU in 1973, but Nigel Farage hopes to change that with a trip to Dublin this weekend.

The former UKIP leader will address Trinity College later today and is backing a so-called Irexit conference on Saturday. “Both events are stirring up controversy,” Bloomberg reports.

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond has called Farage’s Irexit: Freedom to Prosper conference a “sham gathering” aimed at promoting incorrect information about Ireland’s role in the EU, according to the Irish Independent. Among other things, the promotional video for the conference claims that Ireland’s low corporation tax rate - incorrectly stated as 12% rather than the actual 12.5% - is under attack from Brussels, but Richmond insists Ireland has a “rock-solid veto on this area”.

Farage has called Richmond an “EU federalist fanatic” and insists that the EU is preparing to “shaft” Ireland’s corporate tax regime, says the newspaper. 

Eurosceptic MEP Farage, a major driving force behind the Leave campaign, also sparred with Leo Varadkar a couple of weeks ago, accusing the Irish prime minister of trying to overturn the British vote, the Irish Examiner reports.

Polls have shown that Ireland’s support for the EU bloc remains high, despite a referendum vote against the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, which was reversed the following year.

Trinity finance lecturer Cormac Lucey - who has called on Ireland to leave the euro currency and who will address Saturday’s conference - told Bloomberg that Ireland should at least think about its relationship with the EU.

“Because the EU worked so well for Ireland for the last three decades, we presume it will do so for the next three decades,” Lucey says. “I’m not in favour of leaving the EU tomorrow but we need to fundamentally reassess our relationship with it.”

There have been media reports that far-left campaigners are planning a protest against Farage at the university later today. However, according to Trinity News, Ireland’s oldest student newspaper, the Facebook page advertising the demonstration has been linked to a fake account set up by far-right trolls to confuse people.

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