Brexit – running out of options?


A chara, – The way that Brexit events are developing in the UK parliament, there is now, at least, a greater likelihood of a hard Brexit, a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the North of Ireland, grave and adverse economic consequences for everyone – including for the residents of the North – and ultimately perhaps even a united Ireland.

The deal on offer from the EU, and recommended by Theresa May, secured the constitutional position of the North of Ireland within the UK while allowing the residents of the North of Ireland the de facto benefits of continued membership of the EU as well as the benefits of Brexit (if any!).

The DUP and UK Brexiteers do not accept this, however.

To my very considerable surprise, I therefore find myself in the truly remarkable position where I too now substantially share the fears of the Brexiteer and DUP elements, in particular in relation to their views on immigration.

If the outcome of all this fiasco is in fact a united Ireland, we in the Republic will have de facto immigration into the State – but by the DUP and its members – with all of the inevitable consequences thereof for this State. In the words of Timothy Daniel Sullivan’s old nationalist ballad, “God save Ireland then!”

As if things were not confused enough here already. Strange times indeed. – Is mise,




Sir, – I wonder if whoever wrote the editorial in The Irish Times (December 11th) advocating for a second referendum on Brexit (because they didn’t like the result of the first one) has stopped to reflect on the damage this would do to democracy and people’s faith in the political class (not something that is in a large supply these days). And do they care, as long as Brexit is derailed?

You cannot simply rerun a “once in a generation vote” a few years down the road, without implementing the result of the first, just because a children’s author or the presenter of Match of The Day demands that you do so on Twitter. If you are, however, going to trash your newspaper’s values in a forlorn effort to keep the UK shackled to the EU, perhaps you would be good enough to tell us what exactly would be on the ballot paper for this second referendum now that Article 50 has been triggered by parliament?

Nobody on the ludicrously named #PeoplesVote side of the argument can seem to even agree on this. Caroline Lucas wants a vote, not on the decision to withdraw from the EU, but on whether to accept the final terms of withdrawal. Alastair Campbell wants three options on a ballot – No Deal, Theresa May’s Deal, or Remain. And apparently Mrs May herself has a Plan B to offer a second referendum without a Remain option.

There really are lots of alternatives. Please let us know what this fantasy second referendum would look like – or were you in such a hurry to pen your latest anti-Brexit pronouncement from on high that you didn’t really think that through? We all know the answer – it doesn’t matter what’s on the ballot as long as it stops Brexit. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.

Sir, – Surely the “backstop” should not be a problem for the most ardent Brexiteers.

They are the ones who know about this wonderful technology that will meet all the EU’s current requirements for third-country borders, so they should have full confidence that the backstop would only be temporary, at most, and they should be able to tell the rest of us when it will end. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – I fully expect that Theresa May, on her upcoming tour of European capitals, will return with a new agreement.

This agreement will ensure that EU democracy gives her the Brexit she deserves.

Nothing less and definitely nothing more. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.