Brexit – the long and winding road


Sir, – Perhaps we should have more Brexits. I can’t remember when I have heard such stillness in the Dáil. Brexit may have caused splits in society and parties across the water, but here even the Healy-Raes are as quiet as the mellow daffodils wafting in the wind. – Yours, etc,


Ballyduff Upper,

Co Waterford.

Sir, – Amid all the doom and gloom, where would we be without the Tommie Gorman tutorial? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

A chara, – Rather than holding a second EU referendum, maybe the solution is to have a third UK general election in five years.

Where is the proof that when people vote in a referendum they use facts, and when they vote in a general election they use feelings? – Is mise,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – The case for a new people’s vote on UK membership of the EU is growing. However, this time, maybe it should be the people of the other 27 member states who now have their say. – Yours, etc,



Co Galway.

Sir, – Tom Cleary (Letters, March 12th) makes an interesting observation about the criss-cross journey made by his steak, bought in Lidl.

Might I suggest to Mr Cleary that he need have no worries post Brexit about sourcing a good steak – one which has not travelled hundreds of miles and crossed the Border twice. I invite him to take the short walk from Sandycove to Dún Laoghaire, along the scenic seafront, and visit my shop where he can choose from our display of locally sourced steaks.

Small independent businesses like mine need customers like your reader who care about product provenance.

Post-Brexit, local shops like ours will need all the support they can get in order to survive. – Yours, etc,


Dempsey & Byrne

Craft Butchers,

Dún Laoghaire

Shopping Centre,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – So much of Mrs May’s difficulties as a Brexit convert stem from the renowned overenthusiasm of the convert. From the start of her premiership, she has treated Brexit as a good thing in its own right – a destination which must be arrived at irrespective of how that is to be achieved, and where attendant detail is of little or no importance.

The recent parliamentary vote demonstrates that Brexit is very far from an abstract concept and that detail is very important indeed. It is a necessarily complex process whereby the UK extracts itself from various legal commitments, most of which are of over 40 years’ standing.

Various political or factional groupings have made it clear that Mrs May’s solution to this extraction process is not acceptable. However, that is far from an end to the problem. Based on previous voting, there is no majority support in parliament for breaking all ties without any deal. If parliament does vote to prevent leaving without a deal on March 29th, it will bring to an end the European Research Group’s and the DUP’s day in the sun, which they may one day regret not making better use of.

The question of whether the withdrawal process should be extended is not a unilateral decision-making process as, if such a request for an extension is approved, it will require EU approval, which is unlikely to be forthcoming absent demonstration of what is likely to happen during any extension period.

There will be no appetite in Brussels for more of the same, as Mrs May has correctly noted.

And so, like a rudderless ship, Westminster must now look for an exit strategy which commands support. It will be reluctant to arrive at a final answer to this momentous problem without securing the electorate’s approval of it.

This process of public approval will not represent a betrayal of the 2016 vote because that ballot asked only if the UK should leave, not the terms of withdrawal. The exact terms of withdrawal represent an issue that the last two years have at least served to demonstrate is subject to considerable and continuing disagreement.

It is deeply disingenuous in these circumstances to describe a further referendum, the purpose of which is to decide on the terms of leaving (or leaving at all), as a denial of democracy. It is quite the opposite because it has become apparent that only the electorate can or indeed should make this final decision. – Yours, etc,




Co Cork.

Sir, –In my view the UK’s real threat is not the proposed tariffs on Irish agricultural goods, it is the bogus non-tariff arrangement between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is a deliberate attempt to force Ireland and the rest of the EU to erect a hard border. At that point, the UK can enforce controls but push the blame for the problem back on us.

The economic consequences of Brexit may be challenging and will certainly take time to overcome but they can be solved. However, the social and political consequences will be far-reaching, from a fresh sense of anti-Britishness on this side of the Irish Sea to anti-European prejudices across the UK. While economic reasoning has the power to heal divisions, political tensions only serve to deepen existing wounds.

Our Government needs to stand firm with our European partners and call out the charlatans in the UK political establishment. Conceding more ground will only inflate their already bloated sense of self-importance, which in turn spurs their reckless behaviour. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 3.