Irish man writes touching letter to London neighbours to stay in the EU

Over 530,000 people in England and Wales identified as Irish in 2011 Census

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File photo of EU and UK flags above the EU Commission offices in Westminster, London | Image: Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Britain goes to the polls this Thursday to decide whether or not to stay a member of the European Union.

Irish citizens aged 18 or over who are resident in the UK are also eligible to vote.

In the 2011 Census, more than 530,000 people in England and Wales identified themselves as Irish - more than 400,000 of whom had been born in Ireland.

One such man is Ian, who lives in London.

The 42-year-old has written a letter to his neighbours, asking them to Vote Remain when they cast their ballot.

He says the EU has changed the course of his life, and he hopes others will think before voting.

"This is a topic that is so close to my heart, I hope you will receive this letter in the spirit that it is intended", he writes.

"I grew up in Ireland in the 1970s in a household where we depended on my grandmother's pension. There were no jobs, no hope for the youth of the country, so many had to emigrate."

He says being part of the EU allowed him to "get an education, it allowed me to come and study here in the UK, and then work in Germany, and later in Holland."

"I know this freedom to travel allowed me to meet the person who became my wife, it allowed us to come here to London and contribute to this society and have our children here."

"I know that voting to leave will take the kinds of chances that I have had away from generations of people in Britain, and I know this would be a terribly sad thing."

Ian says his life is "incomparably better" from being in the EU, and that "this is true for countless others within Britain and across the EU."

He also says he believes EU migrants contribute more in taxes they pay than costs they occur, and that "Britain will not gain magical sovereignty by leaving the EU."