Brexit – the moment of truth


Sir, – As the “backstop” has been removed at the instigation of an Irish politician, perhaps the new framework should be called the “backstroke”. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – “If you feed a crocodile it will keep coming back and looking for more,” Arlene Foster once famously said about nationalist demands in the North.

It looks as though Boris Johnson may have stopped holding out tasty morsels to the DUP. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – It seems the DUP may again cause a logjam on the Brexit vote. Now is the time for Sinn Féin to do something for Ireland, namely take up its seats in Westminster and vote in support of the Brexit deal and cancel out the vote of the DUP. Sinn Féin can use the ploy of Dev in treating the oath as an “empty formula of words” and then leave the chamber having cast a blow for Ireland. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 8.

Sir, – Kieran O’Donnell TD (Fine Gael) has called on Sinn Féin MPs to take their seats in Westminster so that Boris Johnson might get the Brexit deal voted through.

Leaving aside the fact that the seven Sinn Féin members were elected on an abstentionist policy, taking three SDLP Westminster seats in the process, and that no republican would bend the knee and swear fealty to a foreign monarch, he seems to have forgotten that Sinn Féin, like the Scottish nationalists, campaigned against Brexit, and further they would be voting for something, Brexit, that the majority in the North voted against. Why doesn’t he appeal to the Scottish nationalists, who already sit in Westminster, to change their votes? – Yours, etc,


Rathmines, Dublin 6.

Sir, – If the plan goes through the British parliament, who will be responsible for keeping chlorinated chicken, hormone-pumped beef, sweatshop-made goods, and all the rest that won’t meet EU standards, out of Northern Ireland, and therefore out of the rest of Ireland? – Yours, etc,



Co Mayo.

Sir, – I’m still trying to fathom, despite soundings, the concept of a customs border down the Irish Sea. – Yours, etc,


Harold’s Cross,

Dublin 6W.

A chara, – I know it is a hypothetical question which would probably not get a straight answer, but I was wondering how the seven Sinn Féin MPs would cast their votes on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons, if they were not bound by their abstentionism?

A less hypothetical question would be to ask the leadership of Sinn Féin if it is intended at some stage to set in motion the necessary procedures within the party which could end the 100-year-old Sinn Féin policy of not participating in the House of Commons, even on issues as crucial to its constituents as Brexit.

Sinn Féin abandoned in 1986 what Martin Mc Guinness called “the altar of abstentionism”, so as to allow its TDs to participate in Dáil Éireann. Maybe it is now time for Sinn Féin to consider whether its voice should continue to be silenced in Westminster at this crucial time for Northern Ireland by a century-old policy that served the first MPs well but is now beyond any real political usefulness. – Yours, etc,



Cois Fharraige,

Co na Gaillimhe.

Sir, – Unsurprisingly the DUP has rejected the EU-UK Brexit deal. However, in doing so, it claims that the deal is driving a cart and horse through the Belfast Agreement. The DUP opposed the Belfast Agreement when it was signed. It vilified and demonised David Trimble for supporting it. Furthermore current DUP leader Arlene Foster and her DUP colleague Jeffrey Donaldson resigned from the Ulster Unionist Party and joined the DUP because they disagreed with David Trimble’s stance. If this deal is rejected by the Westminster parliament, the DUP and the DUP alone will be responsible for any damage that is caused to the economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and the Belfast Agreement itself, as a result. – Yours, etc,


( Former Fine Gael MEP

and former Alliance

Party leader),

Lisnagry, Limerick.

Sir, – Amidst all the criticism of the DUP for its opposition to the latest attempt by the UK to leave the EU, surely there is one positive element which is its late conversion to supporting the Belfast Agreement in its entirety. Gone are the days when the DUP was the only political party in these islands to oppose the Belfast Agreement. Consigned to history is Arlene Foster’s assertion in October 2018 that “the Good Friday Agreement isn’t sacrosanct and can be changed. Things evolve, even in the EU context”. While there are many twists and turns on the road to Damascus, who knows where that road will take the DUP to next. It could even be support for a border poll? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 12.

A chara, – Ronan O’Daly (letters, October 18th) asks, “Can anyone recall the last occasion the DUP said ‘Yes’ to anything?” I do recall them saying yes to the Renewable Heat Incentive, and to the offer of a billion pounds of funding for Northern Ireland to do a deal with the Conservatives in 2017, and an individual DUP member who said yes to a holiday in the Maldives. Perhaps it comes down to the phrasing of the question? – Yours, etc,



Co Louth.