#Brexit: “The irony of what is now happening could not be more painful….”

It’s good to know that Enda sent all his Secretaries General to meet with the UK’s Perm Secs last week, but it falls to Chris Haskins to say lightly what I think can be said on what Brexit may mean for the qualitative relations of the people in and between these islands:

The Ireland of my youth was bedeviled by twin negative emotions: nostalgia for an idyllic rural past, which in truth had never existed; and resentment against the historic cultural dominance of England.

Modern Ireland has, for the most part, rejected such views in favour of an outward-looking engagement with Britain, Europe and the rest of the world.

When I came to England in the 1960s I found a far more prosperous place, but also an outward-looking country beginning to recognise that close engagement with Europe was the only response to the demise of empire.

Yet nostalgia for the past and resentment about the world-in-general were the deciding factors in the Brexit vote and were ruthlessly exploited by the Europhobic, often xenophobic outpourings of some Brexit politicians.

The irony of what is now happening could not be more painful.