AN IRISH academic has suggested that the city of Liverpool should link up with the Irish Republic following Britain’s vote to leave the EU.
Dr Michael Holmes, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Liverpool Hope University, made his tongue-in-cheek suggestion after a poll in the Liverpool Echo newspaper showed 70 per cent of its readers favoured leaving the UK following the referendum result.
Liverpool, like other large cities, such as Manchester and London, had returned a majority remain vote, with 58 per cent voting in favour of staying in the EU.
Only 48.1 per cent voted this way across the UK.
Dublin-born Dr Holmes said: ”Merseyside could apply to the Republic of Ireland for recognition and ask to become the 33rd county.
“Alternatively, we could arrange for a swap. For instance, we could exchange Merseyside for Co. Offaly.”
Dr Holmes, who has lived in Merseyside for 16 years, after previously lecturing at University College Cork and the University of Limerick, added: ”Doing so would also significantly improve the quality of Irish soccer.”
The Liverpool Echo’s website is carrying information for local people on how to apply for an Irish passport in the wake of the referendum result – which would enable them to work and travel freely within the EU when Britain departs the union.
Dr Holme’s Irish proposal does have some historical basis as Liverpool was the only city outside of Ireland to elect an Irish Nationalist MP.
TP O’Connor, originally from Athlone, represented the Scotland Road Constituency from 1885 to his death in 1929.
In 1923 the Irish National Party had 23 seats on Liverpool City Council.
The Democratic Unionist Party took out a four-page advertisement in the Liverpool edition of the Metro newspaper, covering the front and back pages, two days before the referendum.
The party’s founder, the late Dr Ian Paisley, attempted to set up a branch of the DUP in Liverpool in 1999 and there is still a congregation of his Free Presbyterian Church in the city as well as numerous Orange Lodges.