The Irish Times and the Guardian combine to ramp up pressure on May and in support of the “all-island Civic Dialogue”

“At this delicate moment, the Guardian and the Irish Times are collaborating on a week-long series exploring the predicament facing Ireland and the UK.

Kenny told the Irish Times that he would summon all political players to an unprecedented All Island Civic Dialogue on 2 November. “

In support of the Guardian’s announcement the Irish Times has published a gloomy analysis of the effects of Brexit on both countries.

The rough guide is that every 1 per cut in UK growth hits Ireland by 0.3-0.4 per cent. But all sides concede that the many uncertainties of Brexit could lead to more damage.

Growth predictions for the North have been cut. Danske Bank, for example, has cut its growth forecast for this year from 1.6 per cent to 1 per cent and, more significantly, for next year form 1.9 per cent to just 0.5 per cent. The other big threat to the economy in the North is the potential loss of EU subsidies, particularly to the farming sector but also to support investment.


For the island of Ireland, there are three key economic factors here. The first is the exchange rate. The second is the trading arrangements after Brexit – will there be tariffs applied on trade between Britain and Ireland? But the third factor is the most emotive. If a Border is re-erected on the island of Ireland it will be seen as a step back in time to the days of the Troubles – and a massive blow to the economic and social relationship which has built in the meantime.

Foreign minister Charlie Flanagan contributes an op ed  to show how busy the Irish government is over Brexit – but he acknowledges that any special deal has to be negotiated in the context of Euro 27.

Future arrangements between the UK and Ireland, and between the Irish government and the Northern Ireland executive, will have to be placed in the wider framework negotiated between the UK and the 27 other EU members – including Ireland.

The FT has a hot story...

Mrs May has not ruled out making future payments to the EU to secure privileged access to the single market. Finance is among the sectors most likely to benefit in any deal that recognised the “equivalence” of regulatory regimes.

On Friday, she assured Japanese carmaker Nissan that trading conditions for its Sunderland car plant would not change after Brexit, in the first suggestion that the government could pick favoured sectors to shield from the impact of leaving the EU.

Several senior ministers have told the Financial Times that the cabinet is considering how Britain could carry on paying billions of pounds into the EU budget. “We would have to be careful how we explained it,” said one minister. “But Theresa has been very careful not to rule it out.” Another senior Tory said: “With Theresa, you have to listen carefully to the silences.”

..  and the FT is surely right to conclude that Nicola Sturgeon sent mixed messages out from the SNP annual conference

Nicola Sturgeon mixed tough talk on a second Scottish independence referendum with the suggestion she would be willing to put this aside if the UK leaves the EU on terms she finds acceptable.

The paradox  should be noted though, that associated status for Scotland could facilitate rather than hamper a smooth transition to eventual independence. In the short term at least,  the prospect of  a hard border across the Cheviots  would make it more difficult.

The ambiguous message that emerged from Scottish National party conference, which closed this weekend, is partly the result of divisions over how quickly to push for another referendum.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London