The EU - should we stay or should we go?

Jeffrey Donaldson - Lagan Valley.jpg
Jeffrey Donaldson - Lagan Valley.jpg

Despite the EU Referendum being just a few days away, many people still remain undecided - should we stay or should we go?

Politicians are also divided on the issue, with the DUP calling for Brexit and the rest of the parties, including the Ulster Unionist Party, saying that the UK should remain in the EU.

Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson believes that the UK should withdraw from the EU.

“It important to make the decision that is most beneficial to Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole,” said Mr Donaldson.

“I believe on the basis of our current membership deal, Northern Ireland and the UK will be stronger, safer and better off outside the European Union. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“The UK should have control of our own finances and where our money is spent, rather than the unelected EU bureaucrats deciding for us.

“As a member of the European Union we send over £350 million every week to Brussels. This money should be targeted on areas such as the NHS and with £350 million we could fund a new hospital every week. Imagine what we could do with just a fraction of that money here in Lagan Valley.

“We could employ more Junior Doctors to run our Casualty Department at the Lagan Valley Hospital so that it operates on a 24/7 basis. We could upgrade all our local roads and build the new link road at Knockmore. It is also time to take back control of our borders, as currently the UK has no control over the free movement of people.

“The longer the UK remains a member of the EU, the longer Brussels will ultimately take more power and more money every year.”

On the other side of the debate, the Ulster Unionist Party has backed the campaign to remain in the EU.

“Whatever the outcome, our children and grandchildren will be directly affected by it for many years to come,” said UUP MLA Robbie Butler. “The European Union isn’t perfect, in fact it’s far from perfect, but we need to give this referendum the careful thought that it deserves.

“Whilst my heart says vote Leave, my head says vote Remain and that is how I will be casting my vote in the ballot box next week. I can absolutely understand the genuine concerns that people have with the EU however, on the whole, I believe the benefits of remaining in the EU outweigh those that ‘might’ be witnessed by coming out.

“Two weeks ago I could have voted either way, and like everyone else I grew tired of the argument and counter-argument coming out from the two camps.

“So I decided to do my own research and I came across an article written by financial expert Martin Lewis.

“He was in the same position as myself as was dismissive of the scare-tactics being used. But after looking at it objectively he came to the conclusion that a vote for Brexit was ‘unquestionably economically riskier’ than a vote to remain.

“As such I have taken the decision that our economy, our jobs and our prosperity would all be more secure by remaining in. This is a view supported by Her Majesty’s Treasury in London which has indicated that Northern Ireland could be tipped into a new recession and unemployment could rise by 14,000 if the UK votes to leave the EU.

“Crucial issues remain unanswered – where will the border between the UK and the EU be? Or more importantly where will the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland be? I certainly don’t want to see Belfast and Larne becoming border towns within our own country.

“As such, I have come to the conclusion that a vote to remain is not only the better option regarding our jobs and our prosperity, but it also reinforces the future of the United Kingdom.”