Clinton worried over Brexit GFA effect

President Clinton speaking at the Concern 50th anniversary conference. photo


By Irish Echo Staff

Former president Bill Clinton is worried about Brexit and the impact it will have on the Good Friday Agreement.

And the 42nd president made it clear that he believes the UK vote to exit the European Union was a mistake.

Speaking on the Pat Kenny Show on the Irish radio station, Newstalk, Clinton he said he was “most worried about the Good Friday Agreement, because I care so much about Ireland.”

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Clinton was in Ireland to attend the Concern 50th anniversary conference held in Dublin Castle.

Clinton, according to an account of the interview carried in the Irish Times, said he was “dismayed because there were people, I thought, who voted for Brexit because they thought the European parliament had gone too far.

And he continued: “Well, nearly everybody can cite one or two examples where they thought the European parliament went too far. If that’s the test, none of us would belong to any clubs, or anything else. I thought that was overreacting.

“Then there were those, mostly in rural England and Wales, who said they wanted to get rid of the immigrants. They were worried about the Polish immigrants taking their jobs. Well, they were basically going to cities where there was a shortage of employees and an abundance of work. I never thought it made any sense.

“Even though Northern Ireland’s kept the peace, and there’s still cranes in Belfast where work is going in and the Irish economy is back to where it was before the crisis, as the fastest growing economy in Europe. But the Northern Ireland economy’s growth is still under two percent, and it’s because of all this uncertainty and where we’re going to go.”

Clinton said that he believed that the political situation in Northern Ireland would “clarify, once people know exactly what the Brexit terms are going to be.”

Mr. Clinton also spoke to Newstalk on the current political situation in the U.S., including the charged debate over immigration.

“Yes, there are some reasons for people to feel resentment. There’s growing inequality, and yes everybody wants some limits on immigration.

“But this anti-immigrant fervor is a very dangerous symptom of an ‘us versus them’ world. America has no real immigration crisis. We act like it’s the end of the world when 30,000 people show up at the southern border of the United States.”