The DUP and Brexit
Sir, – The solution to the question described by Fintan O’Toole about Northern Ireland after Brexit must be found before the nature of the long term UK-EU arrangement is known (“Theresa May faces Irish obstacle on the Brexit tracks”, Opinion & Analysis, June 13th). The best solution would be for Northern Ireland to be in a free trade area with the EU. That would create a “soft” border and allow companies throughout Ireland to trade with the rest of the island (and the EU) substantially as they do today. A group of professors in Queen’s University Belfast has circulated a proposal for Northern Ireland to join the European Economic Area, which would achieve this. The proposal is on the website of the European Policy Centre. Northern Ireland would then remain in the single market. If, as seems likely, the UK ultimately forms a similar free trade area with the EU (so staying in the single market) Northern Ireland would merely have reached the same result sooner. The DUP should understand this, and adopt it as policy. – Yours, etc,
JOHN TEMPLE LANG,
Sir, – Theresa May’s reported promise “I got us into this mess and I’m going to get us out of it” reminds me of the sometimes quoted line of Will Rogers, “If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”– Yours, etc,
Clonskeagh, Dublin 14.
A chara, – Former British prime minister John Major has said he is dubious about any deal between the Conservatives and the DUP as it risks putting the Northern Ireland peace process at stake given the requirement for the impartiality of the British government under the Belfast Agreement. The European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt also expressed serious concerns for the Belfast Agreement. Our Taoiseach needs to be the voice of the Irish people on this issue and particularly those who live North of the Border. He needs to spell out in no uncertain terms that the Irish Government will step in where the British government fails in its obligations under the Belfast Agreement as co-guarantor. Stability and peace on this island are not guaranteed and Leo Varadkar needs to display strong and stable leadership where his counterpart across the water cannot. – Is mise,
Sir, – Pól Ó Muirí’s apparent defence of the DUP’s “morality and principles” fails to convince (“Hysterical reaction of British left to DUP is simplistic and naive”, Opinion & Analysis, June 15th). Because one’s beliefs are grounded in a particular religion and tradition does not render them acceptable or tolerable, per se. While holding office, several of its senior figures attempted to implement the fundamentalist doctrine of “Young Creationism” in the North’s school and university curriculums, and in its museums. This particular belief system eschews centuries of scientific and evolutionary research, in favour of a literal interpretation of the Christian-Judaic “Adam and Eve” story. Centuries ago, Islamic and Judaic scholars turned their backs on this notion. So do the vast majority of Christians today.
Coupled with this is the issue of homophobia and the DUP’s perceived misogynistic and Islamophobic image. There are also two major money-related stories that have not gone away. It is hardly surprising, then, that the broad British electorate (not just leftists and “the media”) are more than a little jumpy at present. Their concerns are real. – Yours, etc,