Irish Ambassador to Britain Daniel Mulhall has criticised a British journalist for making “snide comments” about the Irish economy.
Simon Heffer is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and was a staunch supporter of the Brexit campaign.
On Saturday he turned his attention to Ireland and the impact Britain leaving the EU will have.
He wrote: “I expect it won’t be too long before Ireland wants to leave the EU as well, not simply because of the importance of its trade with the UK, but because the EU is determined to forbid it to operate the 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate that is just about the only thing keeping it economically viable.”
Irish Ambassador Mulhall responded on Twitter, posting: “Not impressed at snide comments of Simon Heffer @Telegraph. I can assure him there is precious little support in Ireland for an EU exit.
Mulhall added: “Simon Heffer, there’s lots going for Irish economy other than 12.5 per cent tax. Highly educated, hard-working population, location within EU.
“Compare Ireland’s economic performance 1922-73 with 1973-2017. Demonstrates the value of EU membership for a country like ours. 1973: GDP per capita 60 per cent of EU av. Today 2nd in EU.”
It is not the first time Mr Heffer has attracted attention from Ireland. Last year, as Ireland marked the centenary of the Easter Rising, Heffer compared Britain’s bid to leave the EU to the Irish fight for freedom a century ago.
He wrote: “Many Britons now can understand how the Irish felt a century ago. We, too, want to govern ourselves, and determine our own future without the control of a foreign power. A distinguished Irish man said to me not long ago that if we choose to leave the EU, so Ireland would have to, given the volume of trade between us.
“I am not sure that follows: but what we have in common remains so powerful that, if we do leave, our first bilateral deal should be with our Irish cousins. Potentially, we have no better friend on earth: on this sombre centenary, let us recall that apparent paradox above all else.”