Former taoiseach John Bruton: has commented on the irony that, 100 years on, it is the bulk of unionists who want to exit from the customs union and free trade area of the EU, regardless of the economic cost, while nationalist Ireland is almost unanimous in its desire to ensure free trade continues. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Picture the scene. A gathering of civic society leaders from all parts of Ireland, and a few leading politicians, attempting to find a way to preserve(...)