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Sun Sep 17, 2017, 06:06 PM

Brexit's Irish Question

People, money, Ireland. These are the three big questions on which the immediate future of the Brexit project hinges. When European Union leaders meet in October, they will decide whether “sufficient progress” has been made in talks with the British to allow for the opening of substantive negotiations to determine the United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU after it leaves in March 2019. As the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier put it last May:

I…made very clear that the [Irish] border issue will be one of my three priorities for the first phase of the negotiation. Together with citizens’ rights and the financial settlement. We first must make sufficient progress on these points, before we start discussing the future of our relationship with the UK.

By the border issue he means the question of whether a hard customs and immigration border is to be imposed between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

And so the Irish Question rises yet again, looming on the road to Brexit like the Sphinx on the road to Thebes. It threatens to devour those who cannot solve its great riddle: How do you impose an EU frontier across a small island without utterly unsettling the complex compromises that have ended a thirty-year conflict? The “people” part of the preliminary Brexit negotiations concerns the mutual recognition of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. The “money” part concerns Britain’s outstanding obligations to the EU budget and the calculation of the final divorce bill. Both are awkward and politically divisive issues, but it should be perfectly possible to reach a settlement.


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Denzil_DC Sep 2017 OP
zipplewrath Sep 2017 #1
weydowner Sep 2017 #2

Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 12:01 PM

1. There has been some concern that N.I. might leave over brexit.

I can remember when Brexit was being discussed, that some thought the impact on N.I. might be too severe causing them to decide to reunite with Ireland. It was fine to have both sides of the coin before, British citizenship and yet free association with Ireland. But being forced to leave the economic advantages of access to European markets, combined with the disadvantages of creating a "hard" border within the island could be too much. Sentiment might finally shift towards reunification. Besides, I've been told that much of the current peace in N.I. is associated with EU rules on equal treatment of all EU citizens.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:10 PM

2. Sowing the wind ....

Most of my life has been spent in London during the 'troubles' when Muslims had never been heard of but IRA bombers were the atrocities du jour. The stupid stupid people that voted Brexit may have their heads chock full of cliches like 'taking our country back' and 'getting control of our sacred sovereignty' which is why there was no space for the Irish Question and the possibility of renewed violence on the mainland and in N. Ireland itself.
They will learn, and it will be too late.

Two things - (1) the Unionists/Protestants hate the Catholics/Irish more than the current Democrats and Republicans in the US and vice versa. The last 20-odd years have buried these difference under the carpet but there is always going to be a buried dislike and it will only take a minor incident to dig up the violence; it only takes a few small groups to be active.
and (2) very very few people in England show interest in Ireland. Never have and never will.

It will - I hope - be a source of constant agony to these stupid politicians for the rest of their careers. At times I wonder how we managed to have a huge Empire,seeing these incompetent minnows ruling their puddle in this century.

At least we don't have Trump. Sigh.

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