Political fallout of the Brexit deal


Sir, – The Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2018 was announced on Thursday – “toxic”. I think the word best describes the antics currently being playing out in Westminster. In European terms, it has to be the “mot juste”! – Yours, etc,


Dublin 7.

Sir, – Bobby McDonagh claims that the British voted to leave the single market in ignorance, having swallowed the “have their cake and eat it” cliché (“Brexit and the March of Folly”, Opinion & Analysis, November 16th).

A glossy booklet, helpfully titled Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK, was distributed to all 29 million households in the country.

Pages five, six and seven were devoted to the dire results of leaving the single market: “Remaining inside the EU guarantees our full access to its Single Market. By contrast, leaving creates uncertainty and risk. . . Losing our full access to the EU’s Single Market would make exporting to Europe harder and increase costs. . . A more limited trade deal with the EU would give the UK less access to the Single Market than we have now – including for services, which make up almost 80% of the UK economy.”

The 17,410,742 people who voted Leave did so in full knowledge of the consequences.

In his time as Irish ambassador in London, Mr McDonagh discerned that attitudes to Europe were “driven by emotional posturing about sovereignty”.

It would be odd for Ireland to belittle another country’s yearning for sovereignty. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – The draft Brexit withdrawal agreement has cast Northern Ireland as Shrödinger’s cat, simultaneously both in and out of the European Union. An apt analogy, it could be said, as Brexit and quantum physics both remain incomprehensible to most observers. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – Whatever the failings so many willingly attribute to Theresa May, a lack of endurance is not one of them. The unrelenting criticism from within her own cabinet, party, of opposition parties, the wider British and European communities and media would have already, I believe, knocked the stuffing out of the lesser likes of a Boris Johnson. Perhaps the British PM is receiving transfusions; she certainly has the requisite thousand cuts and yet still she endures. I feel compelled to salute such resolve. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – I have it on good authority that Mickey Mouse wears a Boris Johnson watch! – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.

Sir, – In her resignation letter, the UK secretary for work and pensions Esther McVey claimed that the draft agreement “does not honour the result of the referendum”. How long will it take for people such as Ms McVey to grasp the obvious fact that the promises made (and deceptions employed) in order to achieve the referendum result were never even remotely susceptible to delivery? The UK was always going to suffer a massive economic hit in return for reasserting its precious constitutional and sovereign independence.

The EU (and Ireland) through the almost-600 pages of this agreement are doing no more or less than patiently and carefully charting the new world that faces the UK following its decision to leave the globe’s largest free-trade area. The agreement is a detailed picture of what the view is from the outside.

Nothing has changed within or about the EU – what has changed is that the people of the UK are being told the price to be paid for its leap back into isolation, a price that was never going to be one whit easier or more attractive than what’s in front of them. So if their parliament approves it, they avoid catastrophic damage; if it does not, their double-breasted Brexiteer fantasists won’t be anywhere around to ease their suffering. – Yours, etc,



Co Limerick.

Sir, – Happy BreXmas. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – The DUP claims to speak for the people of Northern Ireland. Its members should remember that in the June 2016 referendum the people of Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, so by railing against any link to Europe the MPs are representing a party view only, not the will of the people. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Denis Staunton writes, “Theresa May cut a forlorn figure in the House of Commons on Thursday morning” (“Brexit could break apart British party system”, Analysis, November 16th).

My dictionary gives the meaning of forlorn as “pitifully sad and lonely”.

I watched every minute of her astonishing performance where she remained calm, confident, coherent and well able to answer every issue thrown at her over three hours without a break, and in no way was she pitifully sad.

Lonely, perhaps, but this was because she was the one of a very few in the chamber who had actually read and understood the Brexit deal.

She was simply head and shoulders above those attempting to drag her down.

I am firmly of the view that her performance could turn out to be one of the most significant solo parliamentary performances in recent years and could succeed in eventually gaining acceptance of the deal, backstop and all! – Yours, etc,



Co Mayo.