Theresa May and Brexit

Sir, – Blair Horan seems very certain that "Whatever happens, Ireland's future will remain with the EU" (January 19th).

One reason I voted against the Belfast Agreement in 1998 is because it explicitly states that the Republic and the UK wish “to develop still further the unique relationship between their peoples and the close co-operation between their countries as friendly neighbours and as partners in the European Union”.

At the time, I warned that those final seven words bound both countries to either commit to long term co-membership of the EU or, alternatively, to departure from the EU on the same day. It was like making a friendly agreement with your next-door neighbour to cut each other’s grass, on the strict condition that both households always keep their central heating thermostats at the exact same temperature. It was insane.

Back in 1998, Yes voters laughed at me as they dismissed my argument with a wave of the hand. They’re not laughing now. And there’s a clear lesson to be learned. The Belfast Agreement was intended to be a permanent settlement. As such, it ought never to have contained any reference to a temporary alliance. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 18.

Sir, – Chris Johns writes that Theresa May failed to curb immigration when she was home secretary ("Theresa May continues to lie about Brexit", Opinion & Analysis, January 20th). In 2010, when she took office, net non-EU migration was 217,000 per year, by 2015 it had fallen to 188,000 – a 14 per cent reduction.

Net EU migration, over which the UK has no control, increased from 77,000 to 184,000 in the same period. Mrs May succeeded in what she set out to do. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – It has always been a mystery to me why the UK is prepared to sacrifice access to the free movement of goods, services and capital for the sake of some sort of enhanced control of their borders. The latest figures for net immigration (June 2016) from Migration Watch UK show that 196,000 non-EU citizens, over whom the UK has complete control, remained in the UK, while the figure for EU citizens was 189,000. It is clear therefore that leaving the single market will have no significant effect on immigration for the foreseeable future unless there are mass deportations from the UK and, post-Brexit, no-one from the EU comes to Britain to work. – Yours, etc,


Terenure, Dublin 12.

Sir, – Perhaps commentary on how Theresa May’s plans may affect Ireland is premature. What the UK wants from the EU and what the EU is willing to give are two very different things. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – The rhetoric surrounding Brexit is heating up and becoming more bitter as each day passes. Would it be unrealistic to ask all European politicians, diplomats and civil servants to button their lips for a few months until article 50 is triggered and Brexit negotiations begin? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Someone please tell Theresa May that it’s much too late to be sending her letter to Santa Claus. – Yours, etc,


Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

Sir, – Perhaps, as with a divorce after a long and unhappy relationship, a clean break would be best for all. They know where the door is. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Cyprus is a country divided into Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus. Turkish Cyprus does not recognise the government of Cyprus. Yet, although Turkey is not in the EU, the whole island of Cyprus is a full member, and Turkish Cypriots are recognised as citizens of the EU. What about Northern Ireland? – Yours, etc,



Co Mayo.