Brexit and the blame game

 

Sir, – As part of the Boris Johnson and DUP blame-game strategy on Brexit, both Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds have launched an astonishing attack on the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste because of their response to the British prime minister’s latest proposals on Brexit.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds ridiculously accused Leo Varadkar of using incendiary and outrageous comments and then claimed that he would “go down in history as the Taoiseach who restored a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic”.

These cynical political statements are far removed from the truth.

If the current negotiations tragically result in a hard border, an objective historical analysis will demonstrate that the only political party on the island of Ireland responsible for bringing about that situation was the DUP.

In its alliance with the British Conservative government, it betrayed the wishes of the majority of people in Northern Ireland who voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

Furthermore, on several occasions it aligned with hard-line Conservative Brexiteers and others to vote down Theresa May’s withdrawal deal which would actually have prevented a hard border.

By their irresponsible actions, the DUP has put the Belfast Agreement at serious risk.

However, no-one should be surprised. We should never forget that when this historic peace agreement was signed, the DUP strongly opposed it. – Yours, etc,

JOHN CUSHNAHAN,

(Former Alliance Leader and former Fine Gael MEP),

Lisnagry,

Co Limerick.

Sir, – Surely the fatal flaw in the latest UK government’s Brexit proposals is that they are predicated on the basis that the Northern Ireland Assembly will, in due course, return and decide on the efficacy and legitimacy of what is effectively a time-limited backstop.

That scenario is, of course, by no means certain. In the unlikely event that both Westminster and the EU were to sign off and agree to these proposals, Sinn Féin or, indeed, the DUP could decide that it was in their strategic best interests for Stormont to remain closed. The outcome could then be described as a “dog’s dinner”, with Northern Ireland remaining in the single market but not the customs union, along with the establishment of two permanent borders, one down the Irish Sea and the other on the island of Ireland.

Can this be described as a feasible or serious solution for either unionists or nationalists?

Therefore, if consent and democracy are to be the order of the day, the only way to solve the current impasse is for the people of Northern Ireland to be asked if they can agree to such a solution.

Given that the Northern Ireland electorate has already decided to remain in the EU, the result is fairly predictable. – Yours, etc, 

MARTIN McDONALD,

Terenure,

Dublin 12.

Sir, –It’s completely understandable that the Irish rejected the United Kingdom in the last century and have no desire to be part of the Commonwealth. It therefore beggars belief that the Irish cannot understand that the British don’t want to be in a union with you.

We the British are an independent sovereign nation and like every other sovereign nation on earth don’t like other people interfering in our affairs.

In the biggest voter turnout in British electoral history, the UK decided to leave the EU. In the last election in 2017, some 80 per cent of the population voted for a party that promised to honour the result of the referendum, and in the most recent European elections the Brexit Party showed a dramatic electoral surge.

Contrary to the unwelcome opinions of the Taoiseach, who doesn’t live here in the UK, I’m confident that in another referendum the majority to leave would be even bigger.

For the entirety of the UK’s membership of the EU, stretching back more than 40 years, the British have been major net contributors whereas the Irish have been considerable beneficiaries. Has it ever crossed your readers’ minds that we might be ever so slightly fed up with that? I like the Irish and I like Ireland. I respect your sovereign status. It’s about time you respected ours. As a nation, the majority want to leave the EU and for perfectly valid reasons.

We want our independence. Surely you can understand that? – Yours, etc,

DAVE GILBERT,

London.

Sir, – Isn’t it just a little bit ironic that Leo Varadkar is now complaining that Boris Johnson’s latest plan allows the DUP – as a minority – to veto the wishes of a majority. Is that not precisely what the Belfast Agreement with its petitions of concern and parallel consents was intended to do? – Yours, etc,

ALAN RITCHIE,

Belfast.

Sir, – In the spirit of the Belfast Agreement and in support of the concept of “parity of esteem”, the decision to continue or not with regulatory alignment should alternate every four years between the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Will it happen? Sadly I don’t think so because despite protests to the contrary, I fear that the British government has no interest whatsoever in protecting the Belfast Agreement. – Yours, etc,

JOHN McGRATH,

Ashford,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Surely the issue of the proposed involvement of Stormont in assessing any future functioning of EU rules or regulations relating to Ireland is fundamentally wrong in principle.These matters should be monitored and adjudicated upon solely by EU sovereign nations and not by any regional authority.

This is the primary concern on this aspect of proposals rather than any particular party’s influence, such as the DUP’s, in these matters. – Yours, etc,

PJ DUNNE,

Cavan.