Brexit and Northern Ireland


Sir, – The terrible violence of the worst years in Northern Ireland was nothing to do with a customs border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. It wasn’t customs posts that resulted in the Enniskillen bomb, Bloody Sunday, the La Mon restaurant bombing, Warrenpoint, or countless other atrocities. To reduce the years of violence in Northern Ireland to the fact that we had a customs border is a distortion and a misuse of history. – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.

Sir, – Noel Whelan rightly says that, “English nationalists have come to regard Ireland as a nuisance” (“Ignorance of Ireland returns to bite Tories”, Opinion & Analysis, October 19th).

In fact, Brexiteers see the Irish hard border question as a trumped-up issue.

In a letter sent this week to the British prime minister, five former cabinet ministers described the Northern Irish backstop as “a trap being set by the EU which it is vital we do not fall into”.

In this dangerous context of Tory ignorance, Leo Varadkar wisely used the Brussels summit “to make sure that there was no sense in the room that in any way anyone in the Irish Government was exaggerating the real risk of a return to violence in Ireland”.

Regardless of Theresa May’s obvious difficulties in getting a Brexit deal through the UK parliament, it is crucial that the remaining 27 EU nations do not “blink first” on their refusal to countenance anything that might lead to a hard border in Ireland.

The Irish Government must continue to insist on the issue being front and centre of any deal that can eventually be done. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – If the EU headquarters were in London, rather than Brussels, would the UK be leaving? – Yours, etc,



Sir, – A Michel Barnier to Theresa May deal-making gambit. We will take your €40 billion divorce payment and apply it at €10 billion a year to replacing your annual subsidy to Northern Ireland for the duration of the transition period, during which it will remain in the single market and the customs union, under a revived Assembly and with joint supervision by the respective governments. At the end of that period, you – and they – can decide what further arrangement you want to make in its regard. – Yours, etc,



Co Offaly.

Sir, – Poor old Theresa May has her finger in the three-pin socket getting the full 220 volts of Brexit pain and now wants to extend her agony! Can anyone really have any sympathy? – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.