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July 10, 2016 -- Emboldened by the British plebiscite to leave the European Union, patriots in Ireland are pressing for their own referendum. 

Inspired by Brexit, a new group called ’Ireland Exit’ is calling for a “respectful and mature” debate on whether the country should leave the 28-country bloc.

In a statement on its recently-launched website, a spokesman for the group said: “We are a centre leaning political group who believe the time is right for Ireland to hold a referendum on our continued membership of the European Union.

“This debate must take place in a respectful and mature way by all sides and have the long term best interests of Ireland and our future generations at its core.”

Paraphrasing the motto of the Leave campaign in the UK, the spokesman added: “It's time to take back control of our country.”

Campaigners point to the fact the Republic of Ireland, a net contributor to the EU, lost €136million in 2014 as a major reason to leave.

A briefing by the country’s finance minister department revealed last month: “Ireland has been a significant net beneficiary from the EU Budget since accession in 1973. However, 2014 represented the first time that Ireland was a small net contributor.”

The Republic of Ireland’s low corporation tax, a major attraction for businesses looking to invest in the country, is also under threat from Brussels, who are planning continent-wide “tax harmonisation.”

Irish MEP Brian Hayes said this week any attempt to rid the country of its low corporate tax would result in it leaving the union.

He said: "That is the absolute red line issue. Any attempt made to cajole us, as far as I'm concerned, we're out the door.

"We cannot be tied into an anti-business, anti-growth pact while the Brits are allowed to move on. We have a lot more to lose than anybody else."

Since Britain voted to leave the EU, concerns are also being raised about the future of the open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which could allow EU migrants a 'back door' entrance into the UK.

Border patrols and customs checks, however, would severely hinder citizens of both Irish states. They could be avoided if the Republic also leaves the union and matches any restrictions the UK imposes on the free movement of EU migrants.

Despite the emergence of the new group and these concerns, however, most people in the state still support remaining in the EU.

An online poll of more than 40,000 people by online Irish news source found 69 per cent of respondents did not think an Irish in-out referendum was necessary.

Just 27 per cent of people said it should be held, while the remaining two per cent said they weren’t sure.

A poll of 36,000 people by the same source last month found 55 per cent of people did not want Britain to leave the EU.

Just 37 per cent of people supported Brexit, with six per cent answering they “don’t care.”
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  1. Do you think the USA could vote to leave NAFTA?