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Rhun ap Iorwerth advocates stronger ties with Ireland

AT University College Cork on February 22, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth made a compelling case for reinforcing the bonds between Wales and Ireland. The seasoned politician underscored the urgency for Wales to rejoin the European single market, emphasizing the detrimental effects of Brexit on the nation.

Ap Iorwerth began his keynote speech by lamenting the profound impact of Brexit, describing it as “deeply damaging for Wales” and outlining the challenges it has posed in shaping a constructive relationship with Ireland. However, he expressed confidence that these obstacles could be surmounted, emphasizing the need to revitalize and strengthen Wales’ connections with European allies.

Highlighting the strategic importance of closer ties with Ireland, Ap Iorwerth articulated, “Those closer links can be broad-ranging, but should certainly include economic cooperation, for example around developments either side of the Irish sea in renewables and hydrogen.” This perspective aligns with a vision of collaboration that extends beyond political boundaries to encompass mutually beneficial economic partnerships.

Advocating for a closer alignment with the European Union, the Plaid Cymru leader asserted, “There is one immediate step which must be taken not only to safeguard Welsh jobs and trade but also as a statement of intent about our nation’s constitutional future. The UK Government should commence urgent discussions with Brussels to negotiate rejoining the single market and customs union.” This proactive stance seeks to address the economic repercussions of Brexit while signaling a commitment to a more integrated future.

In a critical reflection on the consequences of Brexit, Ap Iorwerth remarked, “It gives me no pleasure for Plaid Cymru to have been proven right when we warned that what ‘taking back control’ meant in reality was the UK establishment ‘taking back control’ from Brussels and clinging onto it in Westminster.” He criticized Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit and the subsequent economic instability caused by what he termed “Trussonomics.”

Asserting the party’s unwavering commitment to Wales’ independence in Europe, Ap Iorwerth quoted Plaid Cymru’s constitution, stating, “As the National Party of Wales, the Party’s aims shall be to secure independence for Wales in Europe.” Far from seeing Brexit as an impediment to this goal, he argued that the movement has not forgotten the social and economic benefits of being part of the world’s largest trading area and economic community.

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“As we cling to those memories, the full extent of the damage that cutting ties with our closest trading partners has reaped becomes ever clearer,” Ap Iorwerth concluded. This acknowledgment of the tangible consequences of Brexit underscores the urgency of reevaluating Wales’ place in the global economic landscape and the imperative to rebuild and fortify relationships with key allies, particularly in Europe.

In this nuanced and insightful address, Rhun ap Iorwerth has positioned himself as a stalwart advocate for Wales, urging decisive actions to navigate the challenges post-Brexit and fostering stronger ties with Ireland and the European Union.