Brexit – finding the middle ground


Sir, – David O’Flanagan is kind enough to respond to my suggestion that we could, perhaps, disagree better about Brexit (Letters, January 1st). On at least one matter I can reassure him. I am not at all “saddened” to hear that many people share Fintan O’Toole’s “astute analysis” of Brexit (“It’s the first birthday of the Brexit hole and they have to keep digging”, Opinion & Analysis, December 28th).

I happen to disagree with Fintan O’Toole about some (not all) of that analysis, but my point was that such disagreements do not need to descend into diatribe. There are perfectly rational arguments both for and against Brexit and thoughtful debate should reflect that.

This was exactly the point I was attempting to make in commending The Irish Times letters page for representing different shades of opinion on Brexit and its consequences. Too many news outlets, from both sides of the argument, have failed to do this and stuck to rigidly partisan lines.

When I wrote that the truth about Brexit was dull, I did not mean to minimise the undoubted problems it has caused, merely to suggest that overall the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union is neither as bad, nor as good, as the most passionate on either side sometimes suggest.

That said, I can see that Ireland is a special case. Did I think about Ireland when I voted leave? In truth, no, but as things have turned out I can see that I should have done. The post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland remain one of the most challenging problems. To solve them we do need to discuss the issue in a civilised way. – Yours, etc,



Dorset, UK.