Brexit arrangements and the backstop


Sir, – Is it not past time that the intransigence of the DUP, in relation to a Brexit arrangement involving a “border in the Irish Sea”, is identified as the real stumbling block to agreement? Such an arrangement would actually reflect the will of the majority of people in Northern Ireland and also the fact that the DUP is quite prepared to keep Northern Ireland distinct from the UK in terms of certain social policies.

The DUP’s narrow interpretation of such an arrangement as amounting to an attack on a unionist position is contradicted by the existence of the Belfast Agreement and its legal guarantees. The unionist position is well defended by the Belfast Agreement, which guarantees no change to the status of Northern Ireland without the consent of the majority of people in Northern Ireland. While the Belfast Agreement is in place that status is unchanged.

The Belfast Agreement is, in effect, a backstop on the backstop. So why isn’t the DUP position on this the focus of serious attention and questioning now? Why shouldn’t the DUP be challenged to justify its refusal to compromise on this in the face of a no-deal Brexit, especially with the prospect of disastrous outcomes for the people of Northern Ireland?

Is it something to do with the fact that the DUP was against the Belfast Agreement process and was not party to its signing in 1998? – Yours, etc,


Redcastle, Co Donegal.

Sir, – Donald Tusk is quite right to reject Boris Johnson’s proposal to replace the backstop with an aspiration to find an “alternative solution”.

Replacing a workable solution with wishful thinking would be utter folly and would be buying into the delusions of the hard Brexiteers. – Yours, etc,


Drogheda, Co Meath.

A chara, – There are 10 minutes left before the final whistle of the game. The team who are losing decide to change their manager. The new manager is appointed and immediately demands that the score should now go back to nil-all. – Is mise,



Dublin 10.