Noel Whelan: Ignorance of Ireland returns to bite Tories

Brexit threatens North’s peace with potential for Border to become a targeted zone

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told a press conference in Brussels how he held a copy of The Irish Times to EU leaders to emphasise the importance of the Border issue in Brexit discussions. Video: European Council

Resentment is one of the most futile and destructive of human emotions. Arising as it does from a mixture of disappointment, anger and fear, it is particularly dangerous in politics. This week commentary on Brexit from the conservative press in Britain and from Brexiteers in parliament drips with resentment that Irish issues remain the sticking point in Brexit negotiations.

This resentment is accompanied by enduring ignorance of the political, economic, legal and constitutional challenges which Brexit presents for Northern Ireland. It is truly shocking that some of this ill-informed comment had come from former Northern Ireland secretaries like Owen Patterson and Theresa Villiers. It is disturbing to think that they once had ministerial responsibility for Northern Ireland and yet seem to have learned so little about its politics or about the multilayered complexities of Anglo-Irish relations.

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