Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “I need to know what it is that the Executive in Northern Ireland is actually seeking”

With the Northern Ireland First Minister over-praising a letter of acknowledgement from the UK Prime Minister, and the deputy First Minister sounding off [again? – Ed] about his lack of trust in “this British government”, it’s worth noting this exchange between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams in the Dáil yesterday high-lighting the dysfunctional approach of the NI Executive to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  From the Dáil record 18 Oct.

[The Taoiseach:] I want Deputy Adams to understand that this is not just about any one party; it is about our island and our people. I have addressed some of Deputy Adams’s questions previously. However, I will say this much to him – when we get to the North-South Ministerial Council on 18 November, I need to know what it is that we are talking about in respect of the Executive of Northern Ireland, because we are not going to get any specific or particular circumstances right unless we know. If there is a division of opinion about what Northern Ireland wants, I cannot sort it out unless there is consensus and agreement on what the horizon or objective is on the part of the Executive in the North. Deputy Adams’s party can help to realise that.

The issues that will be part of the discussion and negotiations are already framed in the contingency work that the Government and my Department have been involved in since before the Brexit vote. I outlined for Deputy Martin last week some of the measures contained in the budget and other measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises where currency fluctuations are causing difficulties and where confusion from the consequences of statements being made leads to a certain degree of instability and lack of certainty.

In the same way, when Article 50 is triggered and we get to the North-South Ministerial Council, all Ministers will have had discussions with their counterparts. However, I need to know what it is that the Executive in Northern Ireland is actually seeking. If there is a division of opinion, it is not going to help anyone’s case or help to make the case for the particular circumstances that apply, including the need for no return to a hard border, the continuation of the peace process and support for it from the European Union, as well as the opportunity for us to work with the citizens of Northern Ireland in the context of the development of the island economy that we know we can have in the time ahead.

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  • chrisjones2

    The public in Northern Ireland needs to know just what the SF side of Marlene is doing to.

    Negotiations will make it almost certain clear differences must emerge between what is best for jobs and industries in NI and what is best for their competitors in the Republic. Farming is one example – there will be many others.

    In that context is the Deputy First Minister going to act for the industries and people of NI or those of the Republic?

  • Katyusha

    He will act in the best interests of NI; as he is elected to do. What mandate does he have to act to the detriment of farmers in NI?

    However, “your clear differences which must emerge” have not emerged yet, and the RoI is largely on the same hymn sheet as SF in terms of their demands, including, exactly as Enda says, “ the need for no return to a hard border, the continuation of the peace process and support for it from the European Union, as well as the opportunity for us to work with the citizens of Northern Ireland in the context of the development of the island economy that we know we can have in the time ahead.

    But with the DUP having campaigned for Brexit, yet wanting similar treatment for NI as it had guaranteed by the EU, it’s perfectly understandable Enda may not be clear on what the government of NI actually wants, and with them jeopardising the livelihoods of NI farmers by campaigning for such a vote, they aren’t putting the needs of their constituents or the NI farming industry first, either.

    Still, wishing for consensus at Stormont- on any issue – is a forlorn hope.

  • Tochais Siorai

    If he follows the example of the First Minister it would be neither.

  • Declan Doyle

    Enda kenny knows fine well what the majority of citizens in the North want; and thats to remain within the EU. Adams asked him specifically to comment on the sos claims that the hard border might actually be constructed around the cta of Britain and Ireland. This he avoided as per norm, however last night on VB his chief whip Regina Doherty declared that she had no idea what the sos Mr Brokenshite was talking about. !!
    Of course there are divisions at executive level with Unionist who are on a kami kaze mission. SF are unlikely to change their minds on that score so its encumbant on the Dublin Government to fire ahead and work in the best interests of Ireland rather than use the pyrommaniac Dupes in the executive as an excuse to sit on their hands. The priority is to serve the best interests of the whole country, not just the 26 counties or just the 6 for that matter.
    Whatever they decide over in the UK, all parties in Ireland should pull like dogs to keep the border clear and maintain free trade on the island and between Ireland and Mainland Europe. If kenny doesnt know that at this stage then we are surely in a pickle.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Negotiations will make it almost certain clear differences must emerge between what is best for jobs and industries in NI and what is best for their competitors in the Republic. Farming is one example – there will be many others.

    Sorry but I just find this a bit laughable, I mean if the UK is negotiating with the EU Commission for a trade deal, then these negotiations will have very little to do with the Southern Irish farmer.

    Worst case scenario, is not that they compete (which they already do) … but actually that they don’t compete (due to fears of tariff losses) in each others market and Kerrygold takes the place of UK brands like Dale Farm butter in ROI and EU shelves and Dale Farm butter takes the place of Kerrygold in NI and UK shelves.

    ROI will have a 1/16th say in the EU, NI will have a 1/33rd say in the UK … we’ll see how that works out politically in the global markets.

    I cannot believe some Unionists think Brexit can be used to design a better more positive partition. Many struggle with how they want the border patrol, and the local Leave campaign was in denial of the need for customs checks.

    It would need some sort of vindictive tanks on the border McNarry approach to effectively destroy or invade the Republic of Ireland … at the same time it’d mean the efforts to get ROI to voluntarily control UK immigration will have been good faith wasted.

    Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will always have the same mountains, same rivers and some of the same problems … but there is no evidence that Northern Ireland’s problems are being solved at the Republic of Ireland’s expense here.

    Absolutely none whatsoever.

    If the UK does cut farm subsidies and Northern Ireland cannot make the most of it, because they cannot cope with the massive economic culture change coming from Westminster then it is Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland alone that is making Irish unity a more viable option than membership of the United Kingdom.

    Not the rest of the United Kingdom, not the Republic of Ireland … Us.

  • Dan

    There will be no Executive agreement, they’ll muddle along as usual pretending they are governing competently, when everyone knows they aren’t
    In the end, the UK government will make the decisions needed, and the Irish down south will blether away but accept the deals between UK-EU negotiators.

  • scepticacademic

    The Exec is hopelessly split on this issue, so there will be no coherent negotiating/influencing agenda to represent the best interests of NI, and we’ll end up with whatever the new English nationalist government in London wants.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I think he wants to know what the Executive wants rather than what the majority of the citizens want. The clue was in the title I think. As for what the majority of citizens want …. that option seems to have gone now so knowing that piece of information isn’t going to be much of a help.

  • chrisjones2

    So Dublin will be working on the best interests of Ireland – as Edna always said they would. WHo can blame tham – that is their job

    The best interest of Ireland and of Nothern Ireland will probably be directly opposed in this. Which is why Marty is trying to distance himself as SF are desperate to face 2 ways at one

    We can try and align our interests (as the PM saiod she would) and to work together as two countries but it all depends on whethere or not teh EU is willing to deliver a rational tarde agreement. If not then Ireland will be hit very hard – but by the EU not by the UK

  • chrisjones2

    But Kerrygold is made in Britain as well as Ireland isnt it?

  • chrisjones2

    I agree. Enda agrees. Theresa May agrees.

    The problem is that Brussels may refuse to agree

    Also what is SF’s stance. When push comes to shove do they want to take the Irish Position or the Northern Ireland position? People here need to know. So its not a question of where the DUP stands – its a question of where SF stands? Will they sell out NI Farmers for votes in the Republic?

    I dont see the problem as Edna has been quite clear where he stands – on the side of Irish farmers first but wanting to protect NI if he can.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Yeah, thanks for that …

    It’d be Cadbury’s chocolate scenario situation.

    What’s made in UK stays in UK, what’s made in ROI stays in ROI.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f66148c185be66259e42a32a7ae50fa46587246aed17ce6dd2e7ba54d959ee02.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/270303660f93361189485f379302b7dff50177ebbe2df591744d85cdbacfd9c1.png

  • john millar

    If he finds out can he please tell the rest of us

  • Declan Doyle

    The executive should want what their voters want. however one half of that executive are on an xenophobic suicide mission.

    Ignore the people at your peril.

  • chrisjones2

    But will SF support the farmers and businesses of NI or of Ireland when their interests come into conflcit. What will SF do?

  • chrisjones2

    “Sorry but I just find this a bit laughable”

    You keep tellingbus that the UK will be treated harshly and forced to fqall back on WTO tariffs. Forgive me but does that not neman around 40% tariff on dairy and 25% on beef and pork impotrtyed from ireland? Then there is teh tariffs on all thsoe ‘sales’ from Dublin based multinationals into the UK

    Do will that impact Irish farmers or not? Or are your other posts all nonsense?

  • NotNowJohnny

    Ignore the people at your peril but you can be pretty sure they’ll vote you back in again regardless.

  • chrisjones2

    Thats waffle. THe border isnt the issue. It is the Tariffs

  • chrisjones2

    Course it is. It isnt British

  • NotNowJohnny

    Are you drinking?

  • chrisjones2

    wilful myopia. Neither Ireland or NI can control waht deal tyhe Eu will do with London. If the EU forces heavy tarffics it will be catastrophic for Iriesh farmers and companies I hope it isnt but you are blinding yourself to it

    Staring at the wall and whistlng Dixie will not make it go away

  • Kevin Breslin

    In terms of trade this is a matter between the EU Commision and the U.K., of which Phil Hogan is a member. Foster’s role is advisory to the UK government, but we’re not clear what advice she’ll be making.

    And actually in terms of everything bar trade the final deal may have to face multinational referendums including an Irish referendum and a Westminster vote.

    So we could have the gloriously funny prospect of the DUP campaigning for a yes vote in a Southern Irish referendum.

    It’d be much more difficult for the UK to do a deal with a EU without the Republic of Ireland.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Norway and Sweden, Switzerland and Austria … They put up with these and adapt. The UK government is not merely letting the EU do its worst so to speak, but they want to take the initiative and give the EU their worst possible option so I say the charm offensive has failed the first hurdle.

    I think the Tories are dealing with what they think the EU is, not with what the EU is. That prejudice will be a critical diplomatic error.

  • Declan Doyle

    …..and so the hamster wheel turns mo chara

  • Roger

    When do we grow up and accept County Roscommon may vote one way but Ireland overall another. And ditto for Northern Ireland region and UK.

  • Croiteir

    Southern chocolate isn’t as bitter

  • Teddybear

    What does ‘peace process’ actually mean ? There is peace therefore the peace process is over as peace is established.

  • Teddybear

    The referendum was a UK referendum, not a regional one. It makes no difference that NI voted remain. Many other areas in the UK voted remain but so what ? It is the national result that matters. And before I am accused of being undemocratic by so called liberals, let me retort by asking if Leitrim is excused or should be excused from implementing gay marriage as Leitrim was the only county in ROI to vote against it?

  • chrisjones2

    Well the EU is programmed to cut them across the board anyway

  • Reader

    Chris, you are a bit confused, and Kevin isn’t helping. Most countries outside the EU set their own tariffs on imports. Once the UK is outside the EU it can look at the situation and decide what tariffs to reciprocate and what tariffs to ignore. Ireland will care very much about this decision, and Ireland’s interests are in having the best possible relationship with the UK going forward.
    Kevin persists in seeing the whole situation as being like a relationship breakdown in a soap opera. As though the EU in a fit of jealousy is going to break into the UK’s house and slash all of the suits in the wardrobe…

  • chrisjones2

    Ireland has free trade with Europe. If the EU does a sensible deal with the UK Ireland will have a sensible tarde deal with the UK incluidng NI. If the EU refuses to be sensible in that deal ireland will pay the orice ….this is not the wish of the UK …its in none of our interests so Enda may wish to have a word with the drunken fool in Brussels who helped bring us to this point

  • chrisjones2

    Thats because its poorer quality to keep milk farmers happy

    🙂

  • chrisjones2

    I agree…… but if tyhe EU insist on WTO tariffs on all UK imports into the EU then what do you think British Political Opinion will do?

    The PM made it clear this week the House will have a choice – the negotiated deal or revert to WTO standards. My assumption is that would leave a 40% + levy on dairy and 20%+ on beef and pork

    It would be impossible to exempt Ireland from this as the goods would just go on a merry go round via Dublin to wash the duty away
    .
    Do irish farmers realise this yet? Or Irish Brass Plate Companies?

  • chrisjones2

    “give the EU their worst possible option”

    more irrational nonsense Kevin …..you have lost perspective again

  • chrisjones2

    I wish i was

  • chrisjones2

    Funny but all the SF supporting commentators here seem to have missed this one so I will ask again

    Negotiations will make it almost certain clear differences must emerge between what is best for jobs and industries in NI and what is best for their competitors in the Republic. Farming is one example – there will be many others.

    In that context is the Deputy First Minister going to act for the industries and people of NI or those of the Republic?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Sorry but having a hissy fit and saying the UK is using WTO terms means their trade relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the other EU states is the path of most resistance they can do without actually imposing sanctions.
    It’s completely illogical, but it’s based on a high entitlement complex.

  • Oriel27

    Thats complete rubbish. the best interest of NI is to be aligned with RoI. The Best interest of NI is to maintain an open border with RoI.
    Chris, you have to stop thinking of NI in terms of UK mainland. NI is a separate place to UK mainland. NI’s economic interests are clearly better provided for in the EU.
    Just look at the shambles yesterday regarding the York St interchange project, – its shelved because of no EU money. Now dont tell me UK mainland will pay for it, beucase they wont. They must look after their own deprived parts of their own country first.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The EU is mandated to cut them across the board, not programmed. It’s very clear that with the UK out of the EU, the balance of power will shift towards those countries that want them raised or maintained.

    Away from Anglo-German-Nordic-Benelux block to a more agrarian Franco-Italian-Iberian-Hiberno-Balkans one. Cuts will be based on fiscal matters of necessity not merely ideological ones of political dogmatism.

    The UK is only guaranteeing them until 2020, they could remove them all in 2021 as it’s merely a measly 1% of their GDP. It’s around 15% of Northern Ireland’s. It’s a gamble many Conservative, Labour and Liberal democrats want to do already, wondering if it’s even modern to have home grown agriculture these days.

    Then again the counterargument was “British Flag, EU bad” anyway, no matter how long it’s separated from the EU, the UK elites will find excuses to blame bad decisions and the gripes of the losers from Brexit on Remain supporters or the European Union, rather than their own apathy, arrogance or ignorance

  • Kevin Breslin

    The only soap opera I see is the persistent omnishambles I’m seeing from politicians over in Britain … Conservatives, Labour, UKIP … It’s like The Thick of It and Yes Minister come together in reality show format.
    Republic of Ireland’s main priority is to itself then to Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom’s main priority is to England, then Scotland, then a toss up between the other two, then France, then the Republic of Ireland.

    There’s a lot of empty rhetoric coming from Westminster that cannot be trusted and will not be trusted. The fact is even those on the Leave side of the government cannot trust themselves.

    Exhibit A – Gove vs. Johnson

    The best possible compromise simply will not happen, simply because this is a government which has shown a chronic ineptitude to delivering on promises and rhetorical diktats throughout its term.
    A workable fudge spun as the best possible compromise will be got … but a lot of the British people will be able to see through the spin.

  • Simian Droog

    Ach, stop worrying, once the post brexit tea and jam industry kicks in there’ll be oodles of cash for Northern Ireland. Free shoes for Orangemen and a NoPopeMobile for Arlene herself.

  • Karl

    Farage??

  • Karl

    You have said that Brexit may be painful in the short term but will work out to long term advantage. It may be beneficial to sacrifice some industries where competitive advantage has been lost to north or south for a longer term realignment of an all island economy. Im sure the First Minister will be weighing up these options on a case by case basis.

  • Declan Doyle

    What a ridonkulous analogy, good grief.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Neither is actually proper chocolate. Ach sin scéal eile.

  • billypilgrim1

    Beer, chocolate, beef, lamb and dairy are better in the south. Buckfast is better in the north. And I give the nod to the Ulster Fry over the full Irish. All of these things, north and south, are better than you get in Britain.

    Tayto (north) and Tayto (south) are the two best crisps in the world, though I’m on the fence about which is better. It’s a Godfather I / Godfather II sort of debate.

  • billypilgrim1

    “…As though the EU in a fit of jealousy…”

    Not jealousy. Self-preservation.

    The EU simply has to make sure that the UK’s exit from its ranks becomes a cautionary tale. Post-Brexit success for the UK is an existential threat to the EU.

  • lizmcneill

    Don’t forget the jars of English air!

  • Reader

    billypilgrim1: The EU simply has to make sure that the UK’s exit from its ranks becomes a cautionary tale.
    And would you be happy to remain in such a club? I am in a couple of clubs, and have left a couple of others. In each case I made the decision based on whether the membership deal was attractive.
    The EU has half a dozen countries clamouring to replace the UK on the membership roll – is there some reason the EU should be at all nervous?

  • Anglo-Irish

    After you left these clubs did you then go back and ask if you could continue to use their facilities without having to pay the membership fee or observe the rules?

    And if you did what was their response?

  • billypilgrim1

    “And would you be happy to remain in such a club?”

    I certainly wouldn’t try to leave such a club unless I had a very clear plan of action, and had all my ducks very much in a row. The UK can say neither of these things.

    The closest analogy I can think of – and admittedly, it’s very different in many ways – is the relationship between Cuba and the US. The Cold War provided a pretext once upon a time, but in reality Cuba’s great crime has been not communism but independence from the US sphere of influence. The US simply could not allow Cuba to walk away unharmed, or afford to allow Cuba to be seen to prosper, lest others would follow their good example.

  • chrisjones2

    Yes…. if of course the irish reciporicate

    Any bets?

  • Barneyt

    Kinda supporting Declan on this, as Enda knows what the people want…but he also knows what the executive wants. They are different things. The executive has 4 DUP ministers and if memory serves me (with other parties not taking up positions) this will be sufficient for a stalemate which only serves the DUP Brexit position. Who knows how Sugden will vote (guessing Brexit)

    If we take the electorate, includng the unionists who voted to remain (lets not forget direction Nesbitt gave), we have a majority. Does it not sound like Enda is playing games? You cant label the Executive as ineffective and then call on it to given EU direction?

    Will the veto play a role here? Other approaches have to be examined and it feels like we need to hasten a border poll…but again I am sure that result will be ignored if the outcome does not suit. Quake!

  • Barneyt

    Surely Tory in-fighting or thinking that UKIP could be put to bed was at fault? Didnt work out

  • Barneyt

    tend to agree. Its split and perhaps leaning to Brexit. Perhaps Justice minister does not get a say given the somewhat neutrality of the role? Open to correction there

  • Barneyt

    Leitrim is not devolved from ROI. Devolution set a precedent for regional consideration and a degree of self determination and the blanket UK approach is not appropriate

  • Reader

    So in your analogy the EU replicates the stance of an oppressive and overbearing USA.

  • scepticacademic

    Come on. Clearly NI is not just any other part of the UK, in the same way that Leitrim is to the ROI.

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: After you left these clubs did you then go back and ask if you could continue to use their facilities without having to pay the membership fee or observe the rules?
    The negotiations haven’t even started yet, but the threats are pouring in.
    Supposing we can stretch the club analogy (a struggle) beyond the punishment-for-resigning idea, here’s my response:
    The UK is leaving the club, which imposes membership fees and a dress code on its members, in return offering the members cheap drinks and a crash pad. The club buys and sells goods and services with other clubs, on terms which are protectionist but otherwise mutually beneficial (analogy creaks…). The club threatens that they will not seek a mutually beneficial deal with a resigning member, but a punitive deal instead. The purpose of the punitive deal is to protect The Club, rather than look after the interests of the members.
    I definitely want to be the first member out of that Delian League…

  • Barneyt

    ah …very Krafty

  • Barneyt

    Chocky Ar La 🙂

  • Anglo-Irish

    Don’t agree with your analogy there.

    The ‘club’ isn’t trying to punish the resigning member, it is simply acting on behalf of its remaining members.

    It would be totally unfair to continuing members who are paying their fees and abiding by the rules to allow a past member to receive the same consideration as they had when they too were members.

    If that were done what point would there be in continuing with the ‘club’?

    Most members are happy with the ‘clubs’ existence they feel that it is a benefit to them and there are several others wanting to become members and waiting for approval.

    Are you suggesting that the ‘club’ should consider disbanding because one member chose to leave?

    And if the ‘club’ was that unsatisfactory why is that member still hanging around wanting favours doing for it?

    Sounds like someone wants their cake and eat it too.

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: The ‘club’ isn’t trying to punish the resigning member, it is simply acting on behalf of its remaining members.
    Nope, In recent weeks Hollande, Tusk and Juncker have each made remarks that can only be understood in terms of punishment for the sake of the EU Borg, rather than its members.
    Anglo-Irish: It would be totally unfair to continuing members who are paying their fees and abiding by the rules to allow a past member to receive the same consideration as they had when they too were members.
    I have noticed that many defeated remainers have become soft brexiters, and will pay any price to remain in the single market. I don’t respect these people any more than you do. To choose a hard Brexit instead is to hit the reset button – to start to negotiate a deal that is potentially in the best interests of the EU members and the UK. That might actually be a very close relationship, if the institutionalised EU functionaries can be kept in their boxes.
    Then the worst that could happen is that a free trade deal starts to look better than assimilation – at least to the EU net contributors. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it?

  • Anglo-Irish

    I’m afraid that I don’t share your fear of EU membership, whilst like all human constructs it is far from perfect it has in my opinion been more of a force for good than anything else.

    Naturally we have annoyed a number of politicians who believe completely in the EU ‘project’, that’s only to be expected.

    The terms which we should be looking to obtain upon leaving should be no more nor no less than those enjoyed by any other non EU country currently doing business with the EU.

    It is only natural that those terms will not be as advantageous as those which are applicable to member states, otherwise there would be no point in membership.

    Some Brexiters appear to be suffering under the delusion that we can leave and then just carry on as before.

    That is not going to happen, and it’s nothing to do with any punitive action by the EU, it’s simply a reflection of the change in circumstances which we brought about ourselves.

  • billypilgrim1

    Yes.