Brexit and the Border
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney with British foreign secretary Boris Johnson in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Sir, – Arlene Foster has now joined the Westminster chorus that a frictionless Border is the responsibility of Leo Varadkar to organise.
One would nearly suppose that Brexit is all Ireland’s fault.
The English press has blamed the Taoiseach for not trusting Theresa May and her cohorts to make it all right on the night, yet I have not seen any articles advising how a Border should be managed. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Stephen Collins is correct that Brexit will mean a hard Border on the island of Ireland (“Government needs to be more honest about prospect of hard Border”, Opinion & Analysis, November 23rd).
At an external boundary of the EU, incoming goods must meet the requisite standards.
However, if the UK abolishes external tariffs (as allowed by World Trade Organisation) to gain cheaper food and imports, no Border checks would be needed on their side.
The problem is for the EU to solve. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The bellicose statements emanating from Belfast and the lukewarm assurances from London that everything will all right on the night on the Border issue once we get to the next stage of negotiations are being rightly rebuffed by the Irish Government and the EU. There is no doubt that unionists are spooked by the consequences of Brexit and wrongly believe they have some veto in their spurious alliance with the Conservative government. There are no winners in the current environment. I would predict three possible scenarios. The first is Britain will withdraw its application to leave and therefore we maintain the status quo. This is obviously the preferred outcome. The second scenario is that no agreement is reached and Britain crashes out of the EU, thus imposing a hard Border and deeply affecting the Northern and Southern economies. There will be a compelling argument despite political and cultural differences to come to terms with some form of a federal all-Ireland arrangement to alleviate it. The third scenario is that the EU and Britain will reach some form of accommodation but will leave the Border as an open sore thus leaving the second scenario as the only alternative. At the end of the day, accommodation and compromise may be the only solutions. – Yours, etc,