The price of Brexit
A chara, – Nicholas Whyte suggests economic, health and cultural issues will influence future decisions on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland (“Erosion of North’s two tribes vests power in the non-aligned”, Opinion & Analysis, July 10th).
He points out the large disparity in economic activity between the North and South, so even if there are economic benefits of Brexit to the North, overall economic activity is unlikely to match that of the South.
On the question of health, we know that life expectancy is greater for those in the South, suggesting they live longer, healthier lives than those in the North. Hospital and healthcare systems contribute very little to a person’s health, which is mainly dependent on education, employment, income and social cohesion, all of which are superior in the South.
On the issue of culture he ignores the fact that Brexit, which was largely driven by English anti-immigration sentiment, is considered an assault on European ideals and Irish identity by a large proportion of people here. Even the best backstop available will not change this.
Brexit is a rude wake-up call for people here who rejected it by a clear majority and now face being dragged out of the EU against their wishes and sold out by Westminster. Brexit has also highlighted Stormont’s limited powers, and that all the big decisions on Brexit, taxation and foreign policy are made by the English electorate or English politicians.
For generations to come, Brexit will be remembered as the best example of the high price you pay for being part of the UK, and Scotland is waking up to this fact too.
However, Nicholas Whyte is right that a positive case for an inclusive, new union in Ireland which celebrates all identities needs to be made, and that this task is often ignored by politicians as too difficult or as one for someone else to do. – Is mise,
Sir, – Bill Bailey (Letters, July 11th) asks what the EU can do if Ireland and the UK reach a free trade agreement. The simple answer is that Ireland must leave the EU if it wishes to form a bilateral agreement with a third country. We would of course be a lot poorer for that decision – both economically and culturally.
As an outward-looking, confident and relatively young Irish person, I am enthusiastic about Ireland’s place in the EU and our abilities to forge our own future, with or without the UK. After all, history tells me that before EEC membership Ireland was a pretty grim place to live. Today it is among the most vibrant destinations in Europe. – Yours, etc,