Welsh UKIP politician suggests Ireland could access EU funds for Welsh motorway works

The suggestion was met with jeers and laughter, and swiftly shot down by the First Minister

Welsh UKIP politician suggests Ireland could access EU funds for Welsh motorway works

David Rowlands. Image: Senedd.tv

A UKIP member of the Welsh Assembly has asked the country's First Minister if Ireland could fund part of the cost of a Welsh motorway improvement scheme after Brexit.

Speaking in the Assembly this afternoon, Assembly Member David Rowlands asked: "Will the First Minister explore the possibility of part of the cost for the M4 improvement scheme being borne by the Irish Government, given that three quarters of all Irish exports to the EU and UK pass along that road?"

First Minister Carwyn Jones swiftly denied the possibility, saying it is the Welsh Government's responsibility to maintain Welsh roads.

However, Mr Rowlands followed up by stating: "This is a serious proposition, as I understand Ireland may be able to access funds from the Trans-European highways fund".

His suggestion was met with jeers and laughter in the chamber, and highlighted by Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth on Twitter.

In a more detailed response, Mr Jones elaborated: "Well... the member seems to be urging on me that I should urge the Irish Government to apply for European funding to pay for Welsh roads.

"He has been a member of a party - and indeed campaigned in June - to end European funding for Welsh roads. He cannot, I suggest, now go to an EU member state and ask them to make up the shortfall that he himself campaigned to engineer in the first place."

He also added that such a proposal could have a side effect in encouraging the French authorities to ask the UK to fund port infrastructure in Calais.