Red lines and Brexit


A chara, – John Cotter (December 19th) is very perceptive in his comparison of the Brexit “red lines” to the Versailles Treaty. Indeed he does not go deep enough with his comparison.

The commitment to a referendum was included in the Tories’ 2015 manifesto as a sop to the rancid right; as a tactical move to head off UKip; and as a bargaining chip in coalition talks with the LibDems. It did not expect to win the election outright, and fully expected to be able to trade away this commitment in the coalition talks.

It won the election and couldn’t avoid the manifesto commitment. Despite attempting an early referendum to limit the time for the pro-Brexiteers to build a campaign (polls at the time showed a majority for remain), after that it developed as Mr Cotter outlined.

When your society is a house of cards, a flap of a butterfly’s wings can bring it down. – Is mise,



Co Louth.

Sir, – If a no-deal Brexit emerges, it will be mostly the fault of Irish political system. Fine Gael’s hardline stance on a backstop, supported by Fianna Fáil, is what has caused this impasse.

The irony of the situation is that if there is no deal, there will be a hard border – so the insistence on an unworkable scenario for the UK was redundant from the outset.

If the economic prosperity of this country suffers because of a no-deal; it will have been the Irish Government which will perpetrated that act upon its own people – to safe guard nationalists living in another country! – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – I note that in the view of Dr Gerard Morgan (December 21st) we Irish seem to take a special pleasure in England’s difficulties. I wonder if he has given any thought as to why this might be the case! – Yours, etc,




A chara, – Because the border and backstop are core issues, Ireland should do everything possible and reasonable, so that the chaos of a no-deal Brexit is avoided.

New thinking is also urgently required. Might I suggest the following: 1. We rejoin the Commonwealth. 2. A united Ireland is agreed, the Stormont parliament to remain, with MPs attending Dublin, not London. 3. A council of the islands is established, with representatives of Ireland and Britain. 4. Britain to remain in the EU. 5. The EU to consider British suggestions for reform of this important European body.

I sincerely hope that politicians, political scientists, and diplomats now come forward with their solutions. The future welfare of Ireland and Europe deserves no less! – Is mise,


An Charraig Dhubh,

Co Atha Cliath.