Brexit Essays #1: Time for Ireland to grow up and get beyond its devotion to the EU?

James Darby writing in response to the Irish Ambassador to London Dan Mulhall’s opinion piece on the UK’s EU referendum and the implications for Irish-UK relations found here .

Official Ireland is fully against the UK leaving the EU. Once again groupthink has dominated discourse in Ireland about this issue. As in 1999 when all of the political establishment supported Ireland adopting the EURO, no alternative view has been put forward.

Ambassador Mulhall’s argument on how Breixt would affect Irish-UK relations is largely based on conjecture and a small dose of revisionism. He starts with the assertion that the EU has kept the continent of Europe peaceful .

However NATO was founded in 1949 long before the EEC (1958) has been largely responsible with keeping peace in Europe. It is the single biggest contributor to peace and security in the Western world today.

The EU through may have contributed to peace on a diplomatic and political level but the current expansionist plans of the EU mean it is more likely to cause conflict than prevent it.

Ukraine is a prime example of this and the conflict in this country is a natural consequence of the EU aggressively expanding eastwards as it comes into conflict with Russian regional interests .

The Ambassador also credits the EU for supporting the Northern Ireland peace process.

Of course the EU supported the NI peace process as any organisation would, but it played no significant part in the talks or process involved.

But it was largely down to Unionists and nationalists coming together, the great work of the British and Irish governments and a very significant contribution from the United States under President Bill Clinton.

He also expresses concern about the impact of trade between Ireland and the UK which is currently worth around 50BN
annually. Trade has been active between Ireland and the UK for a long time, well before the EU was even conceived and is not dependent on being part of a political union.

Trade happens from business to business.

Moody’s rating agency have reported that any economic implications for Ireland in event of Brexit would be ‘manageable’. He also fails to mention the opportunities Brexit could open for Ireland in terms of attracting inward investment.

We are told by REMAIN campaigners that a UK exit from the EU would mean less foreign investment in the UK.If this is true, Ireland would become a natural alternative.

With a much smaller economy than our neighbours, Ireland would only need to attract a small portion of this
investment to have a significant positive effect.

Our low corporation tax rate, educated ,skilled and English speaking workforce would be a major attraction for investment diverted from the UK.

Ambassador Mulhall also raises the spectre of border controls and restrictions on travel between UK and the
Republic of Ireland. But the Common Travel Area (CTA) which originated in 1923 rests on a bilateral agreement
between the Irish and British governments.

It predates and is totally independent of the EU and was last updated in 2011. With such close trade, migration and cultural ties between the UK and Ireland it would make no sense to impose border controls.

Finally Ambassador Mulhall says a Brexit would be a blow to the European Union and members would be ‘sorry’ to see them go. A Britain outside the EU would still be able to engage with the EU on matters relating to such things as trade, security, migration, climate change and a whole host of other issues.

It would simply be engaging from outside the tent rather from within. An EU without a reluctant Britain will make it leaner and more free to pursue its federalist aims.

One wonders why Ireland’s political establishment and media are so slavishly Pro- EU in its outlook.At Easter the same Irish establishment celebrated the Easter Rising of 1916, which eventually led to Ireland gaining independence.

It seems hypocritical to wish to deny our neighbours the same thing as it decides to stay or leave the European Union. Both Nice and the Lisbon treaty were rejected by the Irish electorate, only to be told to vote again .

There was little sign of European unity and solidarity when the European banking crisis came along. Ireland has been forced to shoulder 42 per cent of the cost averaging €9,000 per person.

Whereas the average cost across the EU is €192 per person. Not only has national democracy and sovereignty been undermined, our ability to shape and control our own destiny in the world has been deeply compromised.

Cheap money and the arrival of cheap labour contributed to a boom and bust scenario.

Many young people have had to emigrate in recent years.Unfortunately the Irish political establishment have sold Ireland out to a project which is ill conceived and in desperate trouble.

Hopefully a Brexit will lead to Ireland finally growing up and reconsidering its peculiar devotion to the EU before it’s too late.

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