Brexit and political choices


Sir, – The drama at Westminster over the past few days brings to mind Joe Lee’s perceptive distinction between the approaches of Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins in December 1921. At the time, Dáil Éireann was debating the terms upon which Ireland would exit the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Prof Lee describes de Valera’s approach as coloured by the “ruthlessness of righteousness“; that of Collins by the “ruthlessness of necessity”.

As the British government negotiates its – and Northern Ireland’s – exit from the European Union, it is plain to see that Boris Johnson and his chums are, like de Valera once was, consumed by the ruthlessness of righteousness, while Theresa May steers the no less ruthless course, driven by necessity. – Yours, etc,




Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I predict a soft scrambled egg Brexit – so soft and milky that it will flow off the toast onto the plate, then onto the table, and finally onto the floor. Hopefully it will be so soft and milky and wishy-washy that it will have little or no effect on Ireland’s trade with Britain.

On a serious note, I always believed that a hard Brexit would never happen because at the end of the day Britain would never lock itself out of a European free trade area as the captains of industry and the City of London would never stand for it.

Fingers crossed. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – Mike Forde (July 11th) wonders why David Davis and Boris Johnson did not resign last Friday. The answer is simple. It’s a long walk in the public gaze from the front door of Chequers to the bus stop. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

A chara, – Following England’s victory over Sweden in the World Cup, wouldn’t it be a very sporting gesture if Theresa May asked Ikea to make her a new cabinet?– Is mise,



Co Wexford.