Brexit presents only a landscape of pain

While we hope for progress in trade and Border talks, the goal is damage limitation

An anti Brexit poster in Newry: the Brexit process is a lose-lose nightmare for the Government. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

An anti Brexit poster in Newry: the Brexit process is a lose-lose nightmare for the Government. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The political difficulty for Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney as they head into the crunch period in the Brexit talks is that there will be no wins for Ireland – it is all about avoiding losses, or more accurately minimising them. The Brexit talks – for all sides – are a game of damage limitation which makes the politics of it all quite toxic. Negotiations are much easier when there are spoils to be shared out.

Ireland’s position, however, is uniquely tricky. We face the crunch political issue of the Irish Border, where the talks are now being pushed into recognising the real problems. Meanwhile, the UK is by far the biggest trading partner for Irish indigenous industry and we have a vital national interest in a trade deal being done between the UK and the EU, and also in an agreement on a long transition period after the UK leaves the EU.

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