‘Time to cut ties with Brexiting Britain?’


Sir, – If there is to be a prize for equalling Theresa May’s fatuous comment “Brexit means Brexit”, then Phil Hogan’s article “Time right to cut our ties with Brexiting Britain” (Opinion & Analysis, January 9th) deserves it.

His 20 paragraphs of waffle about Ireland’s position in the EU after the UK’s departure may just as well have been translated “Eirein means Eirein” since they contain not a single specific proposal.

If he has nothing pertinent to offer on this matter, can I suggest that he doesn’t give up his day job? – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – Before heading off to Brussels, it was Phil Hogan, as the new minister for the environment, who raised a half-full glass of water to his lips in a press conference in Government Buildings in Dublin early May 2014 and insisted that water charges would be introduced in October that year.

Apart from being an ideal photo-opportunity for the media present, the briefing proved to be a major turning point in Ireland’s recent history.

What had begun some years earlier as a noble environmental mission soon became a PR fiasco, a financial mess and a political embarrassment.

So why should we now believe Mr Hogan, who is now an EU commissioner, when he asks us to shift our focus more towards Brussels and lessen our relationship with the UK in the Brexit negotiations? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – It is clear from the continuous stream of speculative commentary and analysis regarding Brexit that no one really knows what to expect. Even Theresa May at the weekend confirmed so much as she continued with her “I am about to announce my plan” holding pattern.

Ultimately, who knows whether it will be a soft or a hard Brexit? Personally I would prefer it to be sunny-side up. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – Tim McCormick’s rational suggestion that the British people might think again about Brexit once the grave financial realities are clear is perfectly sensible but also terribly naive (January 9th). Brexit has never been about the money for most of the British people who voted Leave. Rather it is about a fantasy of returning to a pre-mass immigration British nirvana that, of course, never really existed.

MPs know this well and would not dare now to try to stop Britain leaving the EU.

As an English person, long in voluntary Irish exile from my homeland, I fear the place will never be the same again. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – It is interesting that The Irish Times decided to reprint an article from the Guardian that unquestioningly accepts Brexit as a reason for the closure of six Jamie Oliver restaurants in the UK (“Jamie Oliver to close six restaurants after Brexit vote”, Business, January 6th). Ross Clark, writing for the Spectator, questions this rather convenient invocation of Brexit, pointing out that “according to the Office for National Statistics figures, published at the end of November, its economic index for hotels and restaurants was up 1.1 per cent in the third quarter – following the vote for Brexit”. Perhaps, as Clarke suggests, it’s the banality of Oliver’s restaurants, not Brexit, that forced their closure? The Irish Times could do better than blindly encourage the dubious narrative that Brexit is ruining the UK. – Yours, etc,