Unionism and Brexit


Sir, – I voted Remain largely because I feared Brexit would lead to a deepening of communal divisions in Northern Ireland; to increasing friction between unionists and the Irish government; and to a deterioration in Anglo-Irish relations. These fears have been vindicated, and Fintan O’Toole’s article is a symptom of the problem (“Unionism traps itself in a 1950s sci-fi B-movie”, Opinion & Analysis, March 3rd).

The insouciance of prominent Brexiteers about the implications of Brexit for the Border and flip invocations of a technological solution are rightly criticised.

However, the notion that the EU’s proposal for a legal text will somehow actually result in Northern Ireland after Brexit becoming “a radically different political and economic space from the rest of the UK” is an indulgence in the sort of “magical thinking” so often referred to by EU officials. Brexit may well do real damage to the Union but the British government is extremely unlikely be a party to a proposal that would be opposed by the vast majority of Northern unionists and end its pact with the DUP. It also has the support of the Labour Party in rejecting the EU proposal. We are in an unnecessary mess as a result of the referendum. Having fun at the expense of unionist Brexiteers will not help to get us out of that mess. – Yours, etc,


Emeritus Professor

of Irish Politics,

Ulster University,

Jordanstown, Co Antrim.

Sir, – I do hope that this all gets sorted out before the marching season, which seems to last half the year up there. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.