We shouldn’t fear to talk about Irexit, but it is still a bad idea

Brexit is forcing us to rethink our relationship with both the UK and the EU

A protester  takes part in an anti-Brexit demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

A protester takes part in an anti-Brexit demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

On May 10th, 1972, What Do I Do by Sandie, Joe and the Dixies was top of the Irish charts, and it was the day the electorate faced the question of whether Ireland should join the European Economic Community (EEC). Across the country, 70.9 per cent of the electorate cast their ballots, which remains the highest percentage turnout for an Irish referendum. By a resounding 83 per cent, voters in the Republic answered Yes to Europe. There and then, it was clear what Ireland should do.

Now, 45 years on, discussion about Ireland’s relationship with the European Union continues. Some participants in the discussion have called, in this newspaper and elsewhere, for more debate on an Irish exit from the EU. They argue that, because of Brexit, Ireland’s interests are no longer best served by its continued membership of the EU. Irish citizens have always interrogated and questioned their relationship with the EU. This is only right, and asking what we do has never been more understandable, given the backdrop of Brexit.

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