"Irish people can and should get involved in Brexit campaign" - Alastair Campbell

The former aide to Tony Blair says Irish people need to call their friends

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Alastair Campbell, former director of communications and strategy for Tony Blair, is seen at Britain's Conservative Party Conference | Image: Jon Super / AP/Press Association Images

A former Downing Street director of communications and strategy is asking Irish people to play a part in the upcoming Brexit referendum.

The former aide to Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, says the close ties between the two nations means the people will listen to each other.

"The Irish people and business community can and should get involved in the Brexit campaign", he told Newstalk Breakfast.

"I don't think there'll be a single person listening to your programme who doesn't know somebody who will have a vote in this - and so my point is you may not have a vote - but you can have a say".

He takes part in a panel discussion on the implications of a Brexit as part of the IBEC CEO conference in Dublin today.

Writing in the Irish Times, Mr Campbell says: "This referendum is not about British prime minister David Cameron's future, it is about the United Kingdom's. It also matters to Ireland - to every single one of you".

"Ireland is not impotent in this debate. I say that you can have a say, and that you must".

"Each of you have friends and connections. I would urge you to contact all of them and tell them why it matters and why – if this is your view – you want them to stay", he adds.

It comes as the British government is urging the sizable UK population here to register to vote in the referendum.

Voting will take place on Thursday June 23rd.

The 2011 Census of Ireland shows 288,627 people listed the UK as their place of birth.

Mr Campbell told Newstalk Breakfast nothing can be left to chance - as was seen in the Scottish independence referendum.

"There was a whole series of events around the rest of the UK...where people were saying 'please don't go' - and they were phoning their relatives in Scotland to say 'please don't go'".

"I think that had an impact - it certainly had an impact in people understanding the gravity of it".