Making sense of Brexit breakthrough

A Brexit billboard in Jonesborough, Co Armagh. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

A Brexit billboard in Jonesborough, Co Armagh. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA


Sir, – One has to assume that we all know who we are dealing with in reaching yesterday’s agreement with the British Conservatives.

Best to ensure that implementation of the maintenance of full alignment will be under the jurisdiction of the European Court. If the promise is as good as it might seem, how could Theresa May have got Michael Gove and Boris Johnson to sign up to it? – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, –When I heard Mary Lou McDonald struggling to find fault with the “Brexit agreement”, Arlene Foster regretting the lack of time for its further consideration, and Nigel Farage bluntly declaring it as not acceptable, I was immediately comfortable in the knowledge that the Irish Government has done us no little service in its negotiations to achieve the best for our whole island as Britain leaves the EU. – Yours, etc,



A chara, – Are we leaving the EU or joining the UK? – Is mise,


Dublin 24

Sir, – So, there we have it; irrespective of how stage two of the Brexit talks go, there will be no return to the hard border. You almost wonder what all the fuss was about. – Yours, etc,


Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Sir, – A previous case of east-west divergence was the non-introduction of conscription in Northern Ireland during the second World War. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – The deal to allow Brexit negotiations move on is at best equivocation. The Government must keep to the fore the truism that what is freely asserted is freely deserted, and proceed accordingly. – Yours, etc,


Rathedmond, Sligo.

Sir, – If, after Brexit, the British start importing chlorinated chickens and genetically modified food, I expect our Government to keep them out.– Yours, etc,


Louisburgh, Co Mayo.

Sir, – If, after Brexit, Northern Irish people can continue to use their automatic entitlement to Irish citizenship as a means of availing of European citizenship, I think it would be reasonable that a register would be kept, available for public inspection, recording the names and addresses of all persons who have applied for Irish citizenship and passports.

I have difficulty in accepting a situation where Northern Irish Brexiteers would possess an Irish passport and citizenship, enjoying both Brexit and the freedom of Europe, without it being public knowledge. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

Sir, – In addition to the “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” caveat, the latest EU-UK statement on Brexit cautions that it “. . . does not prejudge any adaptations that might be appropriate in case transitional arrangements were to be agreed in the second phase of the negotiations, and is without prejudice to discussions on the framework of the future relationship”.

Sir Humphrey must have been up all night. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – It is brown , soft and, try as they might, can’t be polished. I hope it is not, but fear it is, a Brexit fudge. – Yours, etc,


Rathowen, Co Westmeath.

Sir, – Alan Dukes (“How to resolve the Brexit border conundrum”, Opinion & Analysis, December 9th), as well as several British cabinet ministers, imply that a free-trade agreement between the UK and the EU would be sufficient to avoid a customs border in Northern Ireland. This is not correct, as a free-trade agreement does not harmonise tariffs on goods from countries not party to it. Indeed, this is the key difference between a free-trade agreement and a customs union.

For example, were the British trade secretary Liam Fox to achieve his coveted free-trade agreement with Australia, in the absence of a Border, Northern Ireland would become a backdoor into the European Union for cheap imports of Australian lamb. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 2.

Sir, – The acrobatics of Mrs May and her DUP supporters, apparently to avoid a united Ireland, but also to scupper any sensible resolution of Brexit, seem to me to be a nonsensical waste of effort. Whatever support there may be for a united Ireland in Northern Ireland, I suspect that there is limited support for it in the Republic. We cannot afford it, and there is probably less affinity between the two parts of the island than Sinn Féin and others imagine. – Yours, etc,


Glin, Co Limerick.

Sir, – Great Britain looking for Home Rule. What would John Redmond say if he were alive ? – Yours, etc,


Lucan, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Despite being under intense pressure to retire as Taoiseach, Enda Kenny refused to do so until a vital task was completed. This was to persuade all of our European partners to support Ireland’s justifiable concerns about our special situation. Mr Kenny’s dedication has now borne dividends for the whole country and I thank him for his wisdom and negotiating skills. – Yours, etc,


Mallow, Co Cork.

Sir, – So there will be “regulatory alignment” between the EU and the UK, thus no hard border between the Republic and the North, also meaning there will be no barriers to trade between the North and the “mainland”. What’s the point in them leaving at all? – Yours, etc,


Salthill, Galway.