Last week, Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, was in Dublin to call for true political partnership between Wales and Ireland which he described as a Celtic political union. We already work in close partnership on transport links, cultural projects, and environmental issues in particular. Much of this is done though EU projects. Now we need to strengthen those links, whatever happens this week and in the weeks to come.
We have many cultural, historical and personal connections. Some of our place names, such as Llyn and Porth Dinllaen, hark back to the time of Irish kings,. Patrick Pearse spent time in Wales, examining how Welsh had been introduced as a school subject, and what Ireland could learn from the experience. I have written before about the Welsh chapel in Dublin and the seafaring links which continue today. All of this is in addition to the relatives and friends we have in Ireland. As two small nations, we have so much in common. I hope that in future we will be two independent nations working in partnership.
Leaving the EU would have a huge impact on our connections with Ireland and in particular on Holyhead, the important gateway between Wales and Ireland. It puts us at the centre of vital trading routes to the rest of Europe.
The threat of leaving the EU with no deal led the Welsh Government to draw up a contingency plan,. It identifies two sites on Ynys Môn as parking areas to help ease the traffic congestion created by the need for border checks and how that would slow everything down. We take free movement in the EU for granted but we shouldn’t. Its purpose was to make it quick and simple to cross borders and it has been successful. Losing that would have serious consequences.
Ireland has to keep an open border between north and south even if the UK leaves and in that it has the support of twenty-six EU member states. Welsh interests, on the other hand, have been sidelined by the government throughout these difficult negotiations.
What happens in the House of Commons this week will be critical for Wales. That is why I am proud that my colleagues, the four Plaid Cymru MPs, together with Dafydd Wigley, are working tirelessly to ensure that Wales’s voice is heard loud and clear. That is one thing you can depend on in these uncertain times.