Plain speaking as Brexit looms


A chara, – Terry Pattison (January 5th) says, regarding the forthcoming negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, that it’s “time for plain talking”.

More accurately, perhaps, it’s time for plain thinking.

It takes two to tango, and British objectives in negotiations are conditioned to a considerable extent by what they can expect from the EU team. At the moment, Michel Barnier and his associates are determined to play hard ball, on the implied understanding that Britain needs to be taught a lesson to discourage anyone else from following their example.

Our Government refuses to condemn such suggestions, even though a hard Brexit is widely considered to be potentially very damaging for us.

Worse, we refuse to sit down now and engage with the British and try to work out a common approach for these negotiations. If such were agreed, the British would have a clear view of what we would support, and we could go to our European “partners” with specific demands to avoid a hard border in Ireland, and possibly any kind of hard Brexit.

But we are so caught up with the idea that we should be the best boys in class that we go along with any EU stance, no matter how aggressive or how damaging to Ireland’s interests it might be.

Rather than actually doing anything, rather than doing some plain thinking, we prefer to moan about supposed British ineptitude when we are the ones cutting our nose to spite our face.

We do more trade with Britain than we do with the rest of the EU. – Is mise,


Baile Átha Cliath 22.