Bertie Ahern ‘bitterly disappointed’ with Brexit result

“I’ve been trying to think of something positive about the vote but I can’t."

Bertie Ahern ‘bitterly disappointed’ with Brexit result

Former Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2014 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Following the profound result in Britain’s UK membership referendum Bertie Ahern has said he is bitterly disappointed with the result which is bad news for Ireland.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk the former Taoiseach said Britain and Ireland face major challenges following the outcome of the vote.

“I’ve been trying to think of something positive about the vote but I can’t. I’m bitterly disappointed.

“It’s bad news for the economy, it’s bad for Northern Ireland, it’s bad news for the way things could fall out,” Mr Ahern said.

“Every independent international body who made a statement on this in the last five months said this was bad for Europe, bad for Britain and, by extension, bad for us.”

“In the north specifically it will lead to more uncertainty. I can’t get around how it will work for agriculture in the north because they, like us, export most of their produce.

“Down the road there’s the whole question of tariffs, I know Boris (Johnson) thinks he’ll get everything he wants, ok good luck, but that’s not going to happen. There’s a whole lot of imponderables,” the former Fianna Fáil leader stated.

Discussing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron Mr Ahern said the Leader of the Conservative party had other possible course of action.

“Cameron had no option, he wasn’t going to stay around to implement something he completely didn’t agree with.”

Mr Ahern also raised the prospect of the UK reinstating border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

“Theresa Villiers says we’ve had an agreement since 1921 for people from the Republic to come north. That’s true, but what she never says is if EU citizens, or non-EU citizens, come illegally in here, if people target us, the first thing Boris Johnson and his friends will say is ‘we have to do something about the land border.’”

Listen to the whole interview here: