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Irish PM Kenny warns of Brexit risk to Northern Ireland

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LONDON (Reuters) - A British exit from the European Union would create serious difficulties for Northern Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny warned on Monday.

Ireland has more to lose than other EU member if its larger neighbor, a key trading partner, votes to leave the union at a referendum due to be held by end-2017 and the Irish government has been a vocal opponent of a British exit, or “Brexit”.

Britain’s only land border with the European Union is between Northern Ireland and the Republic and Irish proponents of Britain’s EU membership have warned that an exit could damage trade to the province and inflame political tensions if it leads to more border controls.

Kenny, in London to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron, told a news conference the referendum had become a critical issue for Ireland but he believed all Britain’s demands for revised terms could be met.

“From our perspective it would create serious difficulties for Northern Ireland and I don’t want to see that happening,” Kenny said.

Reporting by William James; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison