Brexit – kicking the can down the road?


Sir, – I hate to say this, but I sincerely believe Brexit must now happen, for the sake, if not the good, of the UK. Families, institutions, politicians, the press are all bitterly divided, as are component parts of the UK itself. There is no healing this and reverting to the status quo ante will not do so.

Leave won a referendum, but it did not “win” Brexit. The UK must leave the EU to find out if there was ever anything in the promises.

The amazing free trade deals, the prosperity, low prices and sunlit uplands of “Global Britain” must hove into view.

Only then will resentful Remainers admit they were wrong. By the same token, if standards of living drop, investment flees, the pound plummets and essential services like the NHS, social care, education, hospitality, construction and retail are starved of workers, only then will Leavers admit that maybe Remainers had a point. Only then can the country reach a consensus and, hopefully, come together again, if only in Bregret. I make no predictions about the outcome – except that the answer will only be one of the two above.

But answered it must be, and staying in the EU won’t answer it. In the words of one Nigel Farage: that’ll be “unfinished business”. Again.

Do the rest of us want to keep putting ourselves through that? – Yours, etc,




Sir, – To avoid a catastrophic divorce between the UK and EU, and by extension, a very serious fall in living standards in the Republic of Ireland, it must surely be time for Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar to reconsider their hard-line stance on the backstop agreement.

While the backstop represents an insurance policy that is very desirable in an all-Ireland context, it would not be the end of the world if its terms were to be renegotiated to include an “assurance agreement” that we in the Republic would not be drawn into an unholy row with our nearest and dearest partner on the continent of Europe.

Our future wellbeing is at stake and our masters in the EU have a poor record on the support front. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 5.

Sir, – In his analysis of possible Brexit scenarios, it is somewhat disconcerting to note that Denis Staunton quotes a senior DUP source as saying that “it wasn’t a Labour government that signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement that started all this” (“What next for Brexit Britain”, December 8th).

On the basis that most history books describe the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement as beginning the process of peace and reconciliation in Ireland, over 30 years before the UK voted to leave the EU, it must be assumed that “all this” cannot mean Brexit.

Given that it was a Labour government that continued and concluded the peace process with the signing of the Belfast Agreement, the DUP may now be running out of political allies in Westminster other than the hard Brexiteers who care little for Ireland. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 12.

Sir, – I doubt a stay of execution by a few days, a couple of weeks or even a month will make Theresa May’s inevitable political demise any less painful when it shortly comes. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.