Brexit – reality and rhetoric


Sir, – Your political columnist Pat Leahy wisely asks (Opinion & Analysis, January 19th) how we can ensure that nothing like the Brexit mess ever happens to us.

His answer stops at the undoubted need to pay attention to the state of our politics and public debate. That isn’t enough. The foundation of incivility and bitterness across the water is real: the poverty, inequality, exclusion and neglect of large segments of the British people.

Those who would govern here must likewise wake up before it is too late to the need for a decent health service, affordable housing for all, fair wages, equal education opportunity and effective, transparent public administration.

It is the reality of life that shapes the rhetoric of politics. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6.

Sir, – Every day I wonder when there will be a full stop to the backstop. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I think the British are working up to a coup. Parliament is dictating time-constraints to the government; there is a cross-party move to find an agreement, thereby overriding government powers; and there is talk of a citizens’ assembly from a Wigan MP. A bit like the beginnings of the French revolution! – Yours, etc,


Dublin 16.

Sir, – John Campbell (Letters, January 19th) is both incisive and accurate in his observation that there is now no way back to the EU for the UK, at least for generations to come. But there are two further awkward presumptions which follow.

Dreams of Irish unity are also pushed further into the future by Brexit since there will be less immediate pressure on London to seek an EU-wide agreement which would separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK; quite the contrary. And the fragility of the existing Northern Ireland peace process will be greatly increased by Brexit as a large segment of the nationalist community becomes further alienated by its forced departure from the European Union.

So, it is surely in our interest for Ireland to promote as close a relationship for Britain as Berlin, Brussels and Paris will allow with the UK after March 29th.

We must contain and minimise any tendencies from whatever quarter to punish the UK for leaving the EU or to seek a trade-only future agreement thereafter.

Post-Brexit Britain is about much more than our short-term, collective economic wellbeing. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Alan Dukes (Letters, January 19th) omits to mention that the real reason Theresa May is refusing to rule out a no-deal Brexit is not because the “only one way to get a no-deal off the table . . . is to construct a deal that is acceptable to both the UK and the EU 27”, but because she is trying to stop a fracture between her party’s Brexiteers and Remainers.

I cannot see any reason why Jeremy Corbyn should help the Tories, a party that has done so much damage to the UK over Europe, in its desperate efforts to hold itself together. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.