Ireland Post-Brexit: A Conference

Since the people of the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union there has been a lot of discussion about what the decision means for UK/Irish relations…and for Ireland itself. 

I’ve asked some of Ireland’s most prominent Europhile and Eurosceptic speakers to discuss whether Ireland’s future should be inside or outside the EU. The debate happens on the morning of March 2, 2017 in Dublin.

Since the UK’s EU Referendum result was announced on June 24, 2016, there has been much focus on what will happen in terms of trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – as well as trade relations between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

UK-Ireland trade is important. In 2015 the UK imported some Euro 14.7 billion from Ireland and exported just under Euro 20 billion to Ireland.

Some of the questions being asked are:

  • What will happen if the UK government decides to leave the single market…will this mean a ‘hard border’ between Northern Ireland and The Republic or will nothing much change?
  • What happens (if anything) to the Common Travel Area – the bilateral arrangement between the UK and Ireland that means that people can move across the border without any checks?
  • Can an electronic system obviate the need for customs posts?
  • Does the devaluation of the £UK mean that Irish exporters will be at a permanent disadvantage (while UK exports to the Republic appear relatively cheap) or will Sterling just float back?
  • Will tariffs return if the UK leaves the single market or will common sense prevail?
  • What are the opportunities emerging from Brexit for better trade relations between both nations?
  • Should Ireland consider following the UK’s lead…is Irexit an option?

These and many other questions may not be answerable until the nature of Brexit becomes clearer. But, by March 2017, we will be closer to the UK initiating Article 50 in order to formally leave the EU. It will be a good time to debate the future for Ireland and the UK in a post-Brexit (and post Brexit-hysteria) world.


Thomas Prior Hall

As a follow-up to our EU Referendum Business Debate held in Belfast in April 2016, we are delighted to announce a debate and conference that will he held in Dublin on March 2, 2017. Running from 8:30am to 10:30am the event will include leading spokespeople from both sides of the Irish Sea (and beyond). This will be a must-attend event for people in business, government or public affairs to get right up to speed on the latest thinking about British/Irish trade in a post-Brexit world.

To help debate some of these issues we have a stellar line-up of speakers including:

  • Douglas Carswell MP – the first elected Member of Parliament for the UK Independence Party (UKIP)
  • Noelle O’Connell – Executive Director, European Movement, Ireland
  • Paul Staines – the Libertarian political blogger and publisher of the Guido Fawkes website
  • Anthony Coughlan – Associate Professor Emeritus, Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin
  • John McGrane – Director General, British-Irish Chamber of Commerce
  • John Longworth – Former Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
  • Cormac Lucey – Economics Commentator, Sunday Times (Ireland) and Author, Plan B: How Leaving the Euro Can Save Ireland
  • David McCann – Deputy Editor, Slugger O’Toole
  • Keith Redmond – Director and Co-Founder, Hibernia Forum

More information about the event (and how to book) here:

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  • Kevin Breslin

    The fact is “common sense” is unlikely to prevail, tariffs and customs are going to be introduced and it will be Westminster hardball games that ensure they do.

    Vote Leave threw common sense out the window when they started promising no customs checks in Ireland and excess money from the NHS coming from the UK’s rebate.

    It’s ridiculous that the likes of Staines, Peel and Carswell think that the EU is going to be a lot more generous to the UK than they are to their member states.

    It shows how illogical what passes for common sense is in this mentality, fantasy before feasibility and functionality as always.

    As far as I am concerned it is Westminster and the Brugges group who have no respect for Irish and European democracy when it rejects their arguement.

    The biggest shame is these Leavers threaten to tear their own country apart and self-sabotage it through making populist promises that are completely conflicting with their libertarian free trade agenda.

    Once they shove the Britain they want rather than that which was falsely advertised, the ordinary decent British people are going to sabotage the self-sabotage.

    The Irish people know very well about parish pumpers not delivering.

  • ted hagan

    Sorry to be a damper on all this but it’s impossible to know what effect Brexit will have on the Republic or the border or to even try and imagine it. It just promises to be another trudge through mud with a load of half-baked notions and so-called ‘facts’. It’ll be years before we know the true impact of Brexit, from whatever perspective you come from.

  • Granni Trixie

    Not a good start to compile a list of speakers/perspectives who, with one exception, are men.

  • 1729torus

    The lineup is all libertarians, eurosceptics, and people associated with the British business establishment. Noelle O’Connel seems like the only purely pro-EU person (with the possible addition of David McCann).

  • Jeffrey Peel

    We are and have been actively seeking more women speakers. We always run events with both sexes well represented. But if you’d like to recommend anyone please do let me know. I’m @jeffreypeel on Twitter.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    John McGrane, Noelle and David would be pro-EU (correct me if I’m wrong). Plus Cormac is iffy on the Euro but not anti-EU as such. Which speakers are associated with the British business establishment? John Longworth resigned from the British Chamber of Commerce so he could campaign for Business for Britain. He campaigned against the combined forces of the British business establishment including the CBI and 10/11 Downing Street.

  • SDLP supporter

    This is a money-making venture by Quadriga/Jeff Peel. I smell snake oil up for sale.
    Surprised that Delusional David Trimble is not on the list expanding on the “insight” he gave us on Spotlight a few months ago that those in the know in Dublin’s corridors of power were planning to join the UK outside the EU.
    It is beyond satire that someone like Jeff Peel finds himself making common cause with somebody like Anthony Coughlan and his back story.

  • Granni Trixie

    Fair enough. Unfortunately I cannot help but maybe someone else reading this can. Good luck.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Is it really just two hours long? From 8am to 10am?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t imagine those who claimed there would be rewards a plenty and controlled immigration and absolutely no customs checks on the border were channeling the Socratic Method of thinking “That All We Know is That We Don’t Know” here.

    It’s a bizarre scenario that those who campaigned for Leave were more conservative than reformers, yet wanted to change the status quo into some sort of golden “status quo res errant ante” based in the 1960s or dare I say it further back in nostalgia for Adam Smith under their own perception.

    Rather than offering reform, or a means of adapting to the present set of affairs it does seem like a movement based on the escapism of retreating to the past, rather than a learning curve of its short comings.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh my goodness yes we’re going to believe this Brexit altruistic attempt at a coup d’était nonsense? What a load of self righteous nonsense!

    A movement that tries to milk the Queen’s opinion for its own good isn’t exactly fighting against the British Establishment.

    You’ve absolutely no evidence to back up this claim.

    The British Establishment hedged their bets on Europe, they hedge their bets on a bipartisan system, they pretty much rig their bets moving all their money to Carribean tax havens. The fact that the Tories could split on this matter nearly 50:50 showed it was a matter of taste rather than importance to the elites.

    The rest of the “ordinary decent British people” as reflected in the referendum varied from extremely partisan to conflicted and actually cared a lot more than the average politican did no matter how they voted.

    This wasn’t a blow against the elites, either way that referendum turned out some group of Brits would become tribal losers.

    I’d rather look at the example of my hero, my mother, a former European Woman’s Entrepeneur and daughter of a mechanic who helped set up a design engineering firm and won recognition for providing these services overseas.

    To the likes of Farage and Trump and Carswell the hard work and effort this ordinary decent worker did in a region of Ireland with a low unemployment rate is worthy of contempt.

    I’m sick of the slimy politicking by those sniveling “anti-establishment meme” elites who simply want to pull the rung up. People who voted leave to kick the establishment probably still think the likes of Farage, Johnson, Carswell, Hannon, Gove, Hoey, Galloway and Stuart have always been in the establishment.

    Exactly how gullible do you think people are?

    What these ordinary decent people need is republicanism, more civic and direct democracy, that would really be a pain in the ass of the British establishment!

  • Kevin Breslin

    Absolutely, the questions are completely loaded with political bias and devoid of actual facts. Jeff is looking for confirmation rather than things that challenge his philosophy. As an atheist I would assume he didn’t believe in divination but rather be more open to facts, evidence and actual experience.

    There are also logical fallacies such as linking the UK’s currency devaluation to Brexit, when the UK could do that anytime. And the economic illiteracy that exporters often have to import as part of their supply line, so monetary policy is always a mixed bag.

    As for the Common Travel Area description that people could move across the border without checks, am I right to assume that includes both EU and non-EU nationals. We are going to consider human beings regardless of nationality to be people now?

    As for the e-visa system, that isn’t going to work with freight … And the U.K. and Republic of Ireland outside the EU/EEC never ever dealt with the need for freight management. The “Free Trade Agreement” claim is a complete false flag. No FTA deal alleviates customs and the EU is not going to comprehensively remove tariffs and non-tariff barriers for little old Britain, because little old Britain chose to be a measily third nation and needs to realise third nations don’t get more from the EU than member states.

    This issue is just to complex for many Brexiteer minds to even comprehend, indeed the fraudulent/negligent claim that Brexit will have nothing to do with the Irish border seem based on fascist fantasy philosophies rather than practical political possibilities.

    There is a reason people listen to experts, they are sick of dealing with quacks who offer solutions which are impossible, impractical or illegal.

  • Kevin Breslin

    P.S. Do you really believe that the 48% of the U.K. Population who disagreed with your view are hysterical?

    The Eurosceptics were “hysterical” for 40 odd years, if Europhiles have even half that resolve you’ll probably be dead before the “hysteria” i.e dissent ends. I actually believe they have a lot more myself, partially because they are not getting hysterical over toasters, bananas, tea bags, flags and Muslim refugees in Greece but important things like human rights, the environment, and international co-operation in security and science.

    Like it or not the amount of entropy in the universe is going to increase, and the days of superstious invisible hands and manifest destiny zeitgeists controlling the markets are being rejected by human consciousness just as they get rejected by thermodynamics.

    Honestly, Brexit stopping hysterical behaviour in the UK, who would think you can vote away mental illnesses? (Probably the mentally ill.)

  • Roger

    Third para refers. Specifically your assumption. Believe me, UK-IRL / CTA does not apply to those not citizens of U.K. or IRL.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The muddled thinking here is that citizens who are not British or Irish are going to have common travel rules, when they wont. The e-visa system and Brexitcracy are going to demand some sort of checking procedure between Ireland and Britain, even if it is confined to insular ports and airports.

    Indeed the status of these nationals in Northern Ireland and Scotland may see Brexitcrats retrospectively deporting hard working members of our society due to paranoid dogmas.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    We may make it longer. TBC.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Seriously…a money making venture? I’ll be lucky to cover my costs.

    I’m not making common cause with anyone – I have invited speakers with interesting points to make. It’s up to the audience to reach conclusions based on what they hear. That’s debate. We’ll have – as we did in our Belfast debate – live audience polling to determine which arguments are most persuasive.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    You’re confused Kevin. It’s a debate. I’m not suggesting any answers.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Goodness Kevin, you’re sounding pretty hysterical. It’s a debate. I’m not speaking. We have Eurosceptics and Europhiles on panel discussions. The full speaker list isn’t announced yet. What’s the issue?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    We’ll have people speaking who will disagree with each other. It’s a debate. Are you suggesting Libertarians shouldn’t be allowed to speak/express their views? Are your views the only valid ones?

  • SDLP supporter

    You are charging 36 Euro a pop and, in a truly altruistic gesture, offering free tickets to some students. Even more touching is your appreciation of, and reaching out to, the all-island/all Ireland dimension to Brexit. As a died-in-the-wool Tory, you’ll appreciate the aphorism of that old 18th century Tory, Dr. Samuel Johnson: “No man but a fool ever wrote, except for money.” Same principle goes for conferences and live-polling guff in the twenty first century.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Indeed. Appreciate the comment.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Of course they should speak their views. The problem is many “Newspeaked” their views in such a manner where they were promising anti-libertarian measures to get a mandate to carry out their version of libertarian politics. Libertarian politics which they go to great pains to promote in neesh media.

    Frankly I think a lot of these libertarian policies were already well protected in the EU and going back to isolationism will ensure the free trade game suffers a linguistic loss in translation and a logistic loss in transit.

    Either these people are betraying their voters or they are betraying their libertarianism.

    Personally I think it is the former, which is sad. For all this talk of standing up to the establishment they indulge in the very two faced politics the public gets frustrated with.

    Case and point May’s docterines of standing up to neo-liberals and emphasing a state role in reindustrialisation pretty much highlights that the Brexit wished by you, Carswell and indeed some of the Tory Leavers isn’t going to happen.

    The political class that wanted Brexit generally wanted libertarianism.

    The British public that wanted Brexit generally wanted more statism and protectionism than what the EU offered.

    Free Movement controls Protectionism

    NHS spending increases Protectionism

    State Aid for Steal and Airportd Protectionism

    Greater Farm Subsidies Protectionism

    Increasing barriers to German cars Protectionism

    Opposing TTIP Protectionism

    Even British Jobs for British workers

    Not to mention the fact that free trade arrangements are designed to stiffle soverignty when the mantra of the leave campaign was to take back control.

    So when nations democratically oppose free trade regardless of its benefits are we going to see Leaver Libertarians graciously accept they lost the argument rather than continously spreading misinformation like any other career politican?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    I don’t think that applies to any of the speakers at the event. I could take issues with many of the points you make but all I’m doing is stimulating a debate. What’s so wrong with that?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Will you acknowledge these logistical problems exist between the four freedoms of the EU along the border?

    Will you acknowledge that as part of the European Free Trade Association the UK and ROI failled miserably to come to any positive arrangement around the free movement of freight?

    Will you acknowledge the island of Ireland and indeed Scotland have pretty much no migration problems and that Wales’ s biggest migration burden is actually the neighbouring English?

  • Kevin Breslin

    This is rather mild criticism from me. If I get hysterical you would really know. I’m capable of shouting down Paisley at his loudest.

    And don’t worry I’m happy to criticise Staines and Carswell as well. Carswell’s probably here to get his Irish Passport and Staines is probably there because his drinks tab is getting paid.

  • lizmcneill

    Plus May has started banging on about leaving the ECHR again, with no acknowledgement that it’s incorporated into NI law as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

    What even happens to all the other GFA provisions if the UK breaches part of it?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Take issues with them, surely that is part of a debate!

    Should I second guess your response, some sort of whataboutery around Remain politicans being similarly hypocritical or something along those lines.

    It wasn’t the system that created the elites, it was the politicans that created the elites. Ordinary people can use the EU system to challenge the elites much better than they could in seperate isolated nation states with patriarchial government gatekeepers.

    Let’s get back to this nonsense about Brexit as a blow against the establishment, it clearly did nothing to harm the British establishment but sparked rows between people underneath. Not only are No. 10 and No. 11 occupied by people who were on the Remain side of the debate, rumours now saying Cameron could be leading NATO this year, that’s how pathetic a blow it’s landed on the elites.

    Let’s cut the defacation of these platitudes, and accept that the little guy has absolutely no place within the Brexit process now their vote is used for what some of the British Establishment wanted all along.

    It really is a Walter Mitty fantasy to think you are a hero when you do very little to actually help those who need help but rather protect a very limited caveat of groupthink instead. Ideas are not people, and the Brexit idealism has as yet done nothing tangible to aid local people.

    The fact you use currency devaluation to highlight the merits of Brexit (and not the demeriting fall of the triple A credit rating) highlights perhaps a desire for petty carthartic soundbites like “Brexit means Brexit” than practical solutions? Am I right?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    No. The purpose of this post was to highlight an event where the relationship between Ireland and the UK will be discussed by people who have different views. As to your rambling about Brexit, well I’m not in government. I have confidence that certain people in government who were on the Brexit side have the UK’s interests at heart and will ensure that our leaving the EU puts the UK in a better position to compete, on her own merits, on a global stage. My own involvement in the campaign was to highlight the risks associated with continuing to be part of a failing political union. And I’m still very happy that we’ll be leaving the EU.

  • lizmcneill

    UK’s interests at heart England’s interests at heart

    There, fixed that for you.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t believe that people who were on the Brexit side will put the UK in a better position to compete on their own merits, because as you painfully made sure in your last remark the campaign was more concerned with demeriting the EU than actually speaking positive about the UK’s merits or indeed boosting the UK’s skill base rather than sitting on its jingoistic laurels.

    The fact is for all the talk of independence from the EU, there was a complete cowardice around self scrutiny and being the change instead running from responsibility. Two out of the Three Brexiteers in Government are happy to blame Lazy Brits and the other sued the Government using the EU bodies.

    It was a very negative and detached campaign based on theoretical internationalism rather than actuall experience in trade or diplomacy.

    I’m not British but I was hugely embarrassed that Britain was reduced to some sort of migrant hating, inch loving, larger swelling, nation of angry armchair commentators with absolutely no sense of agency or accountability.

    No respect for the scientists or economists who actually did put the nation on a pedestal by their merits. No respect for the small and medium businesses who traded in the single market. Just contempt, Brussels musta payed them off!

    I don’t get the sense if they make a bad decision they’d take responsibility for it instead of blaming someone else. No self discipline, no authority, just transferrece.
    I feel they are behaving a bit like Foster, the leading Leaver here, the attitude is that independence means if things go wrong it’s someone else’s responsibility.

    Republic of Ireland governments actually do own their decisions, for the better or worst of things, rather than blame the EU or the Brits. That’s the price of independence.

    Independence in governance will only happen when politicans admit to making mistakes and own decisions they make, including the trade offs they make in a treaty and the shortcoming they have in their governance. Regardless of being inside or outside of the EU, that is the game that will be played.

    The U.K. is just another nation at the end of the day.

    So if what you call the UK’s interests (there are always winners and losers in a democracy) are sacrificed in Brexit, it’ll be because they are happy to trade them off to other countries for what the government perceive is a better reward.

    Clearly a significant section of the U.K. disagree with what you call the “UK’s interests” and one day their lot may be in power and your lot may not be.

    The fact is there are always risks in life and if the Brexit risks don’t pay off then quite simply a lot of your heroes will not simply be eating their own words, but they will have to eat humble pie.

    As an engineer I have to deal with the real world and the real problems, not some theoretical fantasy made up by politicans they don’t have the conviction see fail the reality test. What the UK has to do to reach an trade off equilibrium with the EU and other nations won’t be easy, it’ll have to be worked for.

    To be honest, if those who voted Leave believe the UK merited more than the world was offering them in the EU, then they need to work for it rather than be entitled and greedy. They are joining global powerhouses like Greenland and Algeria who simply left on their own terms after all.

  • Roger

    I don’t think there’ll end up being ‘geographic’ arrangements. They’ll be jurisdiction based as at presenting. There’ll be no Ireland and Britain. Instead, Ireland and the UK.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It really depends on whether English nationalists in Westminster are happy to have those borders at an insular level or not. Since they clearly are they are the ones pushing for insular barriers.

    The fact is English nationalists cannot control the Republic of Ireland’s free movement of EU nationals and they really cannot police free movement in Northern Ireland without checks. So if there are no checks for EU nationals within Ireland, there must be checks between Ireland and Britain. They may be two different types of jurisdictional checks, but the checks will still have to be between Northern Ireland and GB, and the Republic of Ireland and GB.

    I’d rather Westminster didn’t lose their heads over a measily net 4,000 migrants a year. Though to be honest, I don’t trust this Westminster government’s sanity.

    Don’t blame me, I voted Remain, I didn’t ask for any of this.

  • Roger

    There definitely won’t be checks in Ireland. But whatever there is in UKNI, it’s likely in my view to be the same as in rest of UK. Don’t know myself what checks that will mean on the U.K./Ireland border. I suppose that’s a big question.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well there have been personnel checks between NI and GB in the past, and I imagine so cannot be ruled out unless the English nationalists afraid of free movement are prepared to swollow crow.

    I’m fairly confident that there will be freight checks between the two jurisdictions despite what Vote Leave said, because that’s just a necessary hardship from the UK leaving the EU Customs Union a common customs arrangement with the Irish.

    Only way to avoid that is to have a United Ireland one way or the other.

    Westminster could of course adopt a lassiez faire approach to the Irish border as it did in the EU but it means turning a blind eye to smuggling and a blind eye to migration that the Dublin government won’t police, and the Stormont government has no powers and perhaps political will to actually police.

  • Roger

    As things stand a visa required national can get an Irish visa and visit Ireland. Such a national may not have the right to even transit through a UK airport. Such a national may need to arrange his travel so as to transit through Amsterdam for example, so as to avoid landing at a UK airport. Yet when they arrive in Ireland, such a national has a wide open IRL/UK border. That’s real life for probably a few thousand visitors every year. I know this from personal experience. I don’t see much logic to banning people from transiting through an airport who already have the right to visit your open border. If they want to be naughty, it’s a lot easier for them to be naughty at the open border than to somehow sneak out through the border controls of a highly secure airport. Yet that’s the logic followed.

    What does all that mean? Well, logic and policy don’t necessarily have to match up. UK may impose visa requirements on EU nationals but still leave the UK/IRL border wide open. Agree some kind of customs checks seem likely.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well it’s clear that the Republic of Ireland will not police EU nationals coming in any differently. So if Westminster has a problem with these EU nationals travelling, they are the ones who wouĺd be the ones making the checks.

  • Roger

    Agree with you. Checking won’t be Ireland’s business. Rather that of the United Kingdom.

  • NMS

    The survey back in October suggested that a substantial majority of Irish people, when asked to choose, preferred open borders with the rest of the EU over the UK. Only those who support the various brands of Trotskyism & the Provos & older men, went close to opting for the UK over EU see & Personally I would suggest that the missing link between these people is time spent time in front of TV screens, watching SkySports.

    The one option not being offered to Irish people is to join Schengen and let UKNI sort itself out inside the UK. Perhaps it is time to do so.

  • OneNI

    “Republic of Ireland governments actually do own their decisions, for the better or worst of things, rather than blame the EU or the Brits. That’s the price of independence.”
    Like when they did the EU’s bidding and under wrote the bank debt at the expense of the citizens of the Republic and left the (largely German) bondholders untouched?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Dáil Éireann voted for the bank guarantee, it wasn’t just a Fianna Fáil-Green decision. This is under the legislative name of the Credit Institutions Financial Stabilisation Act.

    Yes it was bad in hindsight, but so was Westminster voting for the Iraq War due to doing America’s bidding. Fianna Fail’s instincts being that international depositors would start moving their money out of Ireland’s financial institutions if their money was not secured by the State.

    You’d have to be severely Europhobic to blame the EU for the practices of Anglo-Irish Bank and company and their foreign borrowing suffering levied against the Irish housing bubble, or the practices of the Soilders of Destiny which was an embarrassing economic and political misadventure.

    This is part of a Northern hemisphere culture of fiscal conformity, where dogmatically pretty much every nation north half of the world from the US to Japan, including Russia fell into the delusion of easy money from construction ventures.

    The U.K. was on the verge of doing the same thing but instead nationalised HSBC and Northern Rock without these guarantees. Probably because the Republic took the risk first.

    Due to the debt created by this bank guarantee and other soverign debt, the Irish government borrowed money from the European Financial Stability Facility which is secured by EU nations, the European Central Bank and the the International Monetary Fund.

    Just like Non-EU Iceland and Ukraine have to pay off the IMF and the creditors of its heavy debts. Just like the UK will after last year’s heavy borrowing splurge post-Brexit referendum, borrowing against its millennial children and indebting itself to other nations and corporations.

    It’s called causality, the Leave leaders need to get to terms with unpleasant consequences without blaming the EU every time something bad happens in their life.

  • Angry Mob

    Of course an e-visa wont work with freight, they are not designed to be as they concern the movement of people.

    What you may be referring to is the likes of the e-TIR, which is the electronic system of the TIR which the (almost) entirety of Europe is party to and which could be re-enacted post brexit to allow the flow of vehicles across the border even in a worst case WTO option mitigating the need for customs posts or border checks, inspections would however have to be carried out during unloading.

    This also ignores the EFTA option which has pre-agreed legislation for the transit of borders or that Northern/Southern Cyprus has a special agreement.

    So yes, electronic systems can obviate the need for customs posts and border checks.

  • OneNI

    LOL It was a German decision rubber stamped by the Euro Authorities and obediently carried out by the Dublin govt and given a veneer of respectability by the Dail

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Dáil voted for it at the end of the day. If the Dáil didn’t vote for it, it would have no legitimacy under Irish or international law. This matter was at the end of the day debated and voted on in the Dáil.

    The Fiscal Compact was passed by an Irish referendum.

    So the democratic oversight of Irish political decisions is made by the Irish people.

    Funny how borrowing money from someone comes with conditions added … that’s the state of affairs when Iceland borrows from Norway, or the Ukraine borrows from Russia. It applies to the UK’s £10 bn post-referendum bailout too.

    It’s why the UK’s treble A credit rating has been cut and the UK is more liable to foreign creditors after the EU referendum than before, despite all the evangelism of returning soverignty, the sovereign debt is massively increased.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You are actually contradicting yourself here, obviate and mitigate are different terms. Obviate means the removal of checks … and logistically that is impossible between any EU country and a normal country outside the EU, unless the UK adopts a full acquit of EU rules.

    Firstly E-TIR does not obviate the needs for checks/inspections at the border by moving this inconvenience inside borders. Secondly the fact that inspections happen in the border areas for both customs and other documentation constitutes the existence of border postings.

    Clearly the fact that inspections are not obviated at the EFTA Norway-EU Sweden border the way they are clearly obviated from start to finish along the EU Northern Ireland-EU Republic of Ireland border highlights the fact that EFTA won’t obviate but mitigate the customs checks and border checks.

    Customs posts are still necessary to police all of this, this is yet again an example of Leave theoreticians talking big about positive changes they are miles away from the coal face of implementation.

    I’d love the transit of freight along the Irish border to be hassle free, but you are absolutely deluded if you think that the current E-Tip system inside Ireland is ready for Brexit and that the entire process can be unmanned.

    As a realist I cannot see anyway which avoids the need for border checks other than Irish unification. The Leave side knew this when they lied through their teeth on this matter. The proof they are lying will come with the additional red tape and trade enforcement practices, the Leave liars were too ignorant to actually mention as it would harm their case.

    Instead Reality of Brexit will harm their case and even the most Doubting Thomas Leaver will see the holes.

    The main reason why this isn’t a big thing for Brexiteers, is because it is simply focusing on Britain’s exit from the European Union, not the United Kingdom’s. Messy problems like the Irish border will be completely ignored.

    I can easily see a Westminster government too drunk on its own post-Brexit romanticism leaving this Irish border problem in limbo while it’s too focused on dealing with nasty surprises at home and elsewhere in the World.

    I’m fed up with verbal “scotch tape” being used in lieu of action, a very bad habit particularly given the meaningless words draped on the sides of busses. It’s quite right that every wide eyed promise that things will get better outside the EU gets a put down, because the promises are empty in comparison to the 40 years of hard work that has been in place before, much of which the Leave side want to ruin and replace with “scotch tape” impractical solutions.

    Actions and Inactions speak louder than words … the fact that the Leave side’s plan to deal with the Irish border was to try to infer that juxtaposing the efforts of other countries as being a minor formality really shows how little they actually get the practicalities of trade … period.

  • Angry Mob

    It’s not a contradiction, you are misrepresenting what I said which was that the e-TIR system has thecould obviate border checks which is true, the fact that checks would be carried out at the point of unloading does not impugn that fact as obviously they would no longer be carried out at the border. Just try to remember the operative word “border”, had I not said that you would have a point but as it stands now you don’t.

    Regarding the Norway and Sweden border “border checks” are obviated. Custom checks as you point out are not but and even then they are sporadic checks but as I pointed out above they are not the same thing. This also ignores that the deal done for the UK could be different to the arrangements Sweden and Norway has in place even if we were to negotiate EFTA membership.

    Sorry Kevin, you’re not a realist, you’re a pessimistic chauvinist. You can only see one way which is Irish Unification, the answer to all our problems; the solution for none. How about Irexit for another solution?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I see Irish unification as the true obviating force for removing cross-border hassle within Ireland and to remove the Brexit barriers for the Six counties to at least 26 other national markets. Added to increased British debt, British inflation & British subvention cuts added to the UK government having no selfish, strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland my personal convictions have been boosted by Brexit.

    It is also worth noting that not only will a net EU beneficiary like NI lose money anyway, it’s likely that our block grant will be further cut to pay to pacify English nationalism.

    I make no qualms that there are issues around freedom of movement of goods, people, services and capital that have yet to be worked out here. That’s my realism.

    There is a clear realpolitik issue on trading between neighbouring hinterlands within Ireland with Brexit that transcends a petty Orange and Green identity politics.

    I’m not going to clap like a seal when I see arrogance and vain glories being used as a substitute for real action. Call it pessimism but I call it a rejection of superstitious jingoism and voodoo economics.

    There isn’t even a commitment in practice on how or even if the e-TIR system will be implemented in Ireland from the British government so it’s silly to even assume they will piggyback on this even if they could.

    The EU has removed customs duties, tariffs and checkpoints on the Irish border as well as ensuring a means for cross border security co-operation through the European Arrest Warrent. Something neither the British or Irish could achieve bilaterally due to their arrogances.

    I also have to look at this practically, the Norweigans and Swiss have worked for 40 years with the EU and can only mitigate border issues compared with Sweden-Finland or Austria-Germany. Irexit will solve nothing in terms of the border, as it is clear the UK has no designs for a multinational customs union outside the EU.

    Customs posts do exist on the Swedish-Norwegian border, and will exist on the border on Ireland unless the border itself is obviated.

    Now there’s even less appetite in ROI to join the UK, than there is in NI to join ROI, so the natural drive of Irish unity would be towards full Irish sepratism from a distant and ineffective political union with GB, liberating the natural transport of goods, people, currency etc. from any threat of non-beneficial “Brexitcrat” border beaurocracy or the diplomatic/political omnishambles stifling matters from a distance.

    It will be telling legacy how difficult Westminster makes life in Northern Ireland by its actual actions rather than its cheap rhetoric.

    As for being a chauvenist, that is a ridiculous assertion to a person who holds natural scepticism of Brexit’s impact on the border here. Even leading Leavers in both the DUP (Donaldson) and Conservative Party (Hannan) are worried that the UK could botch this.

    Even the converted have doubts. Most people in Northern Ireland do not believe the Vote Leave propaganda that Brexit will have negligible impact on the border with no evidence to back up its arrogance. Not an Irish nationalist thing, but Northern Irish normality.

    Any UK-EU deal will have a Southern Irish veto over it, so pretty much it’s in the UK’s interests to show its work rather the usual Brexocratic record of semantics, platitudes and greviences.

    The U.K. is very much in danger of being its own worst enemy here, it’s not clear from Westminster where the government wants to draw the line on working with the EU outside of it. Basically the U.K. is headed to a stalemate here, the U.K. can only prolong the inevitable through bad diplomacy at its own expense.

  • Angry Mob

    Irish unification is not the only method to obviating border checks and whilst is may “solve” the issue of the Irish border checks it creates bigger problems for NI which is more reliant on East/West trade than Ireland is; not to mention for GB it does nothing for trade with mainland Europe, the problem still persists and would only isolate NI further.

    As for the e-TIR system, it’s not what I’d actually want, I merely suggested it that even under the worst case option of WTO rules that there are possible solutions for mitigating the effects on cross border trade.

    I have no doubts there will be custom checks no matter what exit route the UK takes but I don’t accept the fact that necessarily means that the customs checks have to be done at the (Irish) border or at all including those goods that merely transiting using, ie NI > France via Rosslare.

    We can look to Norway/ Sweden for clues as to what might happen but it doesn’t necessitate that we will end up with the exact same framework. Even after negotiating access to EFTA we could still speak to the EU and arrange bilateral deals which may mitigate the effects such as the e-TIR system coupled with the use of inland clearance depots and possibly using technology such as ANPR cameras.

    I disagree that the EU has removed tariffs however, that is down to the EEA acquis, which case in point Norway benefits from no tariffs except in fishing and agriculture but again that could be negotiated via separate bilateral deals if desired.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Never did I ever assert that border trade issues would be utterly impossible, the very fact that mitigation is needed adds complicated issues moving freight not just cross border, but cross island too.

    We already have marine zone issues when it comes to policing in both Foyle and Carlingford, without adding around 300 miles of inland terrain and possibly even 200 miles of coast too.

    Let’s be honest here, even with its e-TIR and drones this assumption of some simple solution emerging from the aether the hassle associated with customs checks is not obviated, and it’s a disservice to the 42% of NI businesses that rely on cross island trade that this process will effectively occur automatically with the UK’s departure.

    And there is a hassle to UK trade to mainland Europe from Brexit, even inside the EEA. If Northern Ireland did join the Republic of Ireland it would avoid GB’s barriers with other EU states and their trading partners. EU itself has 25 of the top 50 richest countries GDP per capita.

    Otherwise it’s just gambling on the most jingoistic UK government since Churchill diplomatically charming more of the world than Switzerland have with 5-10 trade specialists and deficiencies in some foreign languages.

    A UK government obsessed with a “foreign” foreign immigration problem that really has no impact inside Ireland, and one that is likely to take NI out of a single market with ease of access to professionals.

    The EU did remove tariffs and customs on the Irish border, it wasn’t done through the European Economic Area. Norway and Sweden do have tariffs as you clearly mention.

    Can’t you see you are relying on Vote Leave promises, they pretty much said effectively after the negotiations the EU will capitulate and the U.K. will get mana from heaven. I somehow doubt they have the humility not to, and it would be a pleasant surprise if it actually acknowledged it had to compromise.

    We know that Norway has to have a huge acquis to the EU to ensure more convenient market access. The entire Brexit arguement effectively relies on the governments of 28 countries, perhaps more, representing 500 million citizens or “demos” pretty much acquis-ing to rules dictated from a government of 50 million citizens at Westminster determining the terms unilaterally. To me that is chauvenism to the nth degree. If the UK wants to have easier access to the EU it’s going to have to contort to it. The Remain side said this several times.

    And in terms of cross border trade in agriculture and fishing, these are hardly minor issues in cross border trade inside Ireland, for business and trade.

    If the UK are the ones obsessed with playing hardball or walking out of negotiations at the expense of Armagh creamers and retailers supplied by of Monaghan farmers then it will be clear how low we really are on the UK radar.

    I’d take Norway/Sweden as a balanced compromise, but let’s face it, Northern Ireland is just a liability to a country that wants to pull the drawbridge up and e-commerce itself out of a potential recession away from disruptive migrant cultures.

  • Angry Mob

    I never claimed there was a simple solution either, with remaining in the EU off the cards all solutions are going to be fraught with difficulty but some less so than others; where we differ in opinion however is that our beliefs as to whether it is worth it or not which is something I don’t think we will ever agree on in the near future.
    Without figures I can only speak from personal experience of the freight industry but my guess is that the flow of cargo between NI and GB would be significantly higher than that of NI and ROI. Whether than is true or not I cannot say for sure but reunification in this case would disproportionality hit NI harder than remaining in the UK.

    Tariff barriers were removed long before the formation of the EU and it is not the EU acquis that controls them but the EEA agreement (Article 10) hence why the EEA-31 pay no tariffs except certain fish and agricultural products which are not covered by the agreement.
    As states this could be removed via bilateral deals similar to what Iceland and the EU have recently made; which EEA agreement does not cover:

    You are right to say however that the EU does remove customs on the border as that legislation is embedded within the acquis communautaire thus why we can never be in the EU customs union without negotiating a separate somewhat like Turkeys.

    Please don’t conflate what I believe with the shysters that are Vote Leave. I don’t believe that that the EU is simply going to roll over but I do believe re-joining the EFTA takes away the motivation (surely EFTA is seen as lesser status so a ‘win’ for the EU?) and the ability to give us an extremely bad deal as we would be relying mainly on the EFTA /EEA agreements which are already in place as an interim solution and thus simplifying the negotiating process. Ivan Rogers is correct, we won’t get a FTA in 2 years, the EFTA itself took 8 years. Using the EFTA as a starting point would allow us to focus during the negations on other policy issues such as the NI border, defence, our agricultural and fishing policies, airspace cooperation etc.

    As for the acquis Norway requires it is roughly ¼ of what the UK currently requires to access the EEA via the EU not to mention the various rights it has which the UK does not.

    If you have ~10 minutes free this is an interesting overview of the EFTA movement of goods:

  • Summerfell

    Consequences of having no border controls within the Island of Ireland:
    1. An EU Citizen (free to move to Ireland) may fly to Ireland, and once there, disappear into the CTA, thus making illegal immigration EXTREMELY easy.
    2. Goods made in the UK can be transported into Ireland and later on into the EU’s single market. The opposite is also true.

    There needs to be some sort of border control. Thanks to Brexit.

  • Summerfell

    You are wrong. A visa emitted by Ireland can be used to visit the UK.

  • Roger

    There is a special scheme for certain categories of Indian and Chinese visitors whereby a Chinese or Indian can visit both countries on the same visa whether issued by Ireland or UK. Other than that, an Irish visa is worthless at UK border. If you’ve got other information, I’d be glad to hear it. I have some unfortunate personal exercise on this topic. For many the CTA is the DVA (Double Visa Area).