The Cable

Watch: Welsh UKIP Member Wants Government to Ask Ireland for EU Funding

A Welsh UKIP member wants Ireland to use EU funding to pay for Welsh road improvements.


In life, decisions occasionally have consequences. If you speed, you may well get a ticket. If you leave your meal on the stove for too long, it will burn. And if you vote for Brexit, you’ll of course find yourself cap-in-hand trying to snag money from the European Union.

That, at least, is what happened Tuesday in Wales. David Rowlands, a UKIP Welsh National Assembly member, wondered whether the Welsh government might ask Ireland to pay for refurbishments to the M4 highway, as many Irish exports to the European Union must pass through Wales.

No, responded Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones. That’s “for the Welsh government to maintain.” Yes, Rowlands said, but Ireland still has access to “trans-European highways fund.”

In response, the first minister noted that Rowlands “campaigned in June to end European funding for Welsh roads — he cannot, I suggest, now go to … an EU member state and ask them to make up the shortfall that he himself campaigned to engineer in the first place.”

In Rowlands’s defense, he was not alone. Also on Tuesday, Steffan Lewis of the Welsh independence party Plaid Cymru said to the Assembly, “Will the First Minister consider a formal arrangement with the Irish state so we can have future joint working on infrastructure projects — even tapping, dare I say it, into the EU funds?”

He dared say it. But Jones did not seem amenable to this suggestion. Because he realizes that, in this life, decisions do occasionally have consequences.

Photo credit: Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering ambassadorial and diplomatic affairs in Washington. @emilyctamkin

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