Ireland, Britain and Brexit


Sir, – Kathy Sheridan equates Brexit with Donald Trump’s election, claiming that millions of people in both countries were duped by the lies of politicians (“Brexit and Trump promises were just lies”, Opinion & Analysis, April 5th).

She writes of the “entertainment value in the lounge bar colonels salivating over the return of the (UK) navy passport to be redesigned at a cost of £500 million/€583m”.

The reality is the UK government’s 10-year contract with a private company, worth half a billion pounds, to redesign and print six million passports annually runs out in 2019 and would be put out for tender at that time irrespective of Brexit.

Moreover, the familiar burgundy-coloured passport is EU-recommended but not compulsory. Any EU country can have any colour it wants. Croatia has blue passports. Ireland could have green ones, if it so desired.

Your columnist also mentions a long-time London-Irish businessman admitting to feeling “a little scalded” as proof that many British people are suffering regret over their choice to vote Leave.

The truth is there is little evidence of buyer’s remorse among voters, and Theresa May is enjoying remarkably good approval ratings, even amongst Remainers, for her handling of the Brexit process thus far. The British economy is booming, inward investment is at record levels, unemployment is at its lowest rate in a decade and the predicted exodus of jobs from the City of London simply hasn’t happened.

Rather than continue to spout hackneyed tropes about dog-whistle racism and flag-waving jingoists, Kathy Sheridan might be better off examining why a majority of voters chose Brexit and why their elected representatives are opting to carry out their wish rather than bully them into holding another one to overturn the result. With lies and false promises. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

A chara, – Kathy Sheridan writes the umpteenth Irish Times opinion piece excoriating, denigrating and morally denouncing those who voted for Trump or Brexit. Her column follows the well-trodden path and ticks the usual word-bingo boxes (sexist, racist, etc) when it comes to describing almost half of the UK and US populations.

She also, which is part of the formula for these Irish Times columns, presents us with a caricature which she feels depicts these lumpen proletarians. “Lounge-bar colonels salivating over the return of the navy passport” seem to have swung it for Brexit, while Trump was swept in by “aggressive, pumped-up mobs”.

Why don’t your columnists actually come out and directly say what they are obviously thinking? They oppose universal suffrage, clearly consider it a disastrous failure and would, in light of events, “reluctantly” prefer a return to limited suffrage. Those with third-level degrees, business owners and those who own a house valued above a certain threshold. That should put a stop to a Trump or Brexit ever again being forced through, against all logic and decency, by the great unwashed.

This would not, heaven forbid, be done with any sense of elitism or desire to exclude.

Proponents would regard themselves as warriors for justice, equality and inclusion. However, events have sadly shown that sometimes those below stairs need to be protected from themselves. – Is mise,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – Michael Drury describes as “provocative” my description of the EU as anti-democratic (April 5th).

Between 1992 to 2008, the institutions of the EU swatted aside five referendum results in Denmark (1992), Ireland (2001 and 2008), France (2005) and The Netherlands (2005). They ignored a further two in Denmark in 2000 and Sweden in 2003. If Mr Drury seeks textbook definitions of “anti-democratic” and “provocative”, he need look no further than the response of Europe’s political elite to those ballots.

If you’ve decided in advance that you’re going to invalidate the result of a national referendum, you could save on ink bills by not bothering to print a “No” box on the ballot paper in the first place.

I’ve heard all the excuses from Europhiles already. Anyone who believes that such breath-taking audacity doesn’t whip up Euroscepticism all over the Continent isn’t so much right or wrong. They’re simply living in denial.

Mr Drury believes “little” is an odd description of 450 million citizens. But it’s still only 6 per cent of the human race. You wouldn’t visit a shopping centre that boasts 100 units only to become obsessive about trade conducted between six of them tucked into a little corner as if the other 94 didn’t exist.

Mr Drury is correct, however, in stating that the term “over-regulated” is a “matter of opinion”. Yet what does he believe is the purpose of your letters page if not a forum for readers to share their subjective opinions?

EU membership imposes far too many regulations on small businesses that don’t export anywhere.

Why are such standards decided at supra-national level? It ought to remain a competence for domestic legislation in national parliaments.

It’s not that large multinationals enjoy burdensome regulation, but they can afford the compliance costs and it snuffs out many of their smaller competitors. Over-regulation was a major factor in Greenland’s decision to leave the EU, and the UK’s also. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir, – Regarding the Gibraltar question, when does Spain intend to return its own African territories of Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco? No doubt the EU has a policy on this colonial era leftover? Or is there one rule for Britain and another for Spain? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.