Brexit and Ireland’s role


A chara, – We are not, nor should we be, idle watchers of this Brexit debacle. What we are likely to witness over the next few months is a showdown between Britain and the European Union over the Irish Border.

In this situation, Ireland is in a strange situation. Paradoxically, we are in both a weaker position than the UK (as a much smaller country) and in a stronger position than the UK (as part of the EU, which is a larger economic entity). This is indeed an unprecedented position to be in.

We need to be proactive to resolve the impasse. In particular, we cannot allow the European Union to use Ireland to force Britain into an impossible choice. This will sour relations on these islands for years to come. Ireland’s interests are not aligned with the European Union now. The European Union (as a political entity) would benefit greatly from a no-deal, crash-out Brexit. Economic and political chaos in Britain would serve as a warning to Eurosceptics all over the continent. But this is not in Ireland’s interest. Ireland needs to delay and hope that the Brexit frenzy passes.

Why not allow a 10-year limit on the backstop along with a Border poll? A lot will change in 10 years and not just in Northern Ireland. Young people in Britain are much more likely to favour EU membership than older British people. Why not sit back and let demographics work? Or if not demographics, than why not let economics continue to impact support for Brexit? The slide in the pound will not abate post-Brexit and the fall-off in investment in the UK will surely change a lot of minds in 10 years. Or what about the inconvenience of holidaying, or working or retiring in Europe for British people post-Brexit? In 10 years, Donald Trump will also be long gone and will not be interfering in European and British politics.

Maybe it is not just Britain which needs to take a deep breath and consider things more pragmatically. Maybe we do too. – Yours, etc,


Bandon, Co Cork.