Does Brexit reflect deeper malaise within EU?

Sir, – Dr Ronan McCrea makes some interesting points about the difficulties in sorting out the conundrum of the Irish Border post-Brexit ("Ireland has boxed itself in on Border issue", Opinion & Analysis, March 7th).

However by focusing on the Border issue, we are ignoring the more pertinent issues that will in the end decide the future of the Border and Ireland’s relationship with the EU and the UK.

The UK voted to leave the EU. It chose to leave, and not for some nostalgic hankering after empire and glory. Many voted to leave with a great deal of reluctance, and they did so because they did not like the direction the EU was taking.

A growing number of people throughout Europe and Ireland have similar concerns, concerns that are being reflected in the ballot boxes of almost every EU country.


If the UK is to be punished for its temerity in abiding by the democratic mandate of its people, or to be pushed sullenly into an another referendum to achieve a result that chimes with that of Brussels, then the nature of the EU in the eyes of its people changes.

It will no longer be a club of free independent nations, gathered together in the multinational equivalent of a four-star hotel.

The doors will have been slammed shut and locked, and no matter how comfortable the sofas are and how marvellous the pool facilities, all people will notice will be the locked doors and the bars on the windows.

Most of us may be satisfied with that, and with the free champagne and nibbles given out with great liberality to those who pretend that the doors are still unlocked; but unfortunately nothing in international politics ever stays the same.

And that is something that should concern us, we don’t seem to have an exit strategy if the EU moves in a direction that is unacceptable to Irish interests and traditions. The world has become ever more dangerous and volatile, events can very quickly make the issue with the Irish Border look quaint and self-indulgent.

The EU needs to tread very softly or it will end up turning the UK into a courageous bastion of democracy and diminish itself in the eyes of many of its own people as a monolith, which uses the thumbscrews of penury rather than a battalion of tanks to keep its members compliant and locked in. – Yours, etc,