How will Ireland square the circle of close relations with Brexit Britain and continuing loyalty to the EU?

An Irish government official said to me a few weeks ago: “ we’re with the other guys now.” That arresting comment  meant that Ireland was making a necessary shift further away from Britain and towards the continuing relationship with the EU. A binary choice  is in prospect, goes the argument, depending on the Brexit outcomes. There was a certain amount of whistling bravado in the remark  – perhaps belied  by the Irish government’s intense efforts with its continuing EU partners  to square a Brexit circle, emphasising  the Republic’s great exposure to Brexit  while at the same time demonstrating enduring loyalty to the EU. After all,  Irish analysts fear Brexit will hit Ireland harder than the UK. – or at least they did a couple of months ago when British analysts were fearing the steady downturn in the UK economy – which hasn’t happened so far. So caution is still required.

 The FT’s Big Read feature has devoted an article by correspondent Vincent Boland (£) giving a  rattle to the theme of Ireland’s pivot further towards Europe and away from the UK, but  without reaching any  firm conclusions.

 Extracts  
“Garret used to say that joining Europe would represent a psychological liberation for Ireland from its neurotic relations with Britain..,”( says Brendan  Halligan ex gen sec of the Irish Labour party.)   “I think Brexit represents that psychological moment for us. I see it as the end of our colonial relationship, the final cutting of our umbilical cord with Britain.”
When Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, addressed the Irish senate in November, she was given a rapturous reception; senators not only commended her pursuit of Scottish interests in Europe but also declared their support for Scottish independence.

Brexit is changing that political calculation with some Irish politicians starting to imagine the break-up of the UK.
Mr Kenny must navigate the intense debate emerging in Ireland. The debate focuses on whether, and how, to rebalance the country’s diplomatic and political attentions away from London, where it has been focused for the past 20 years, and towards its European friends, notably France and Germany.

There are signs that the Dublin government is already thinking about the wider consequences of Brexit that go beyond its immediate concerns over Northern Ireland and the border.
The historian Mary E Daly calculates that, as recently as 1950, the UK market accounted for more than 90 per cent of Irish exports, which consisted almost entirely of agricultural products. In 2015, the proportion of Irish exports going to the UK was around 15 per cent, reflecting a radical change in the Irish economy.

But this is misleading..  A lot of Irish exports patriate most of the profits to the US multinationals rather than adding directly to Irish prosperity. According to another measure  Belgium is a more lucrative trading partner than Britain but that’s because many EU companies trade through Brussels as the EU capital. The Irish Times gave a more rounded picture. The trade with UK is more in bulk – in good and animals

The UK is Ireland’s largest trading partner, with more than €1.2 billion of goods and services traded between us every week, directly supporting 400,000 jobs on both islands and even more among suppliers and surrounding communities.

Even local businesses are not immune to UK trade as importers and exporters employ local staff who spend locally. We’re so joined at the economic hip that, when the UK economy grows by 1 per cent, we grow by 0.3 per cent as a result. But the reverse is unfortunately true as well.

Businesses want to do more trade, not less; and to create more jobs. All other things being equal, Britain’s exit from the EU would mean higher costs and prices by making it harder to hire the required skills and import raw materials. It would also result in fewer sales on account of tariffs and other barriers. This has to mean less incentive to invest and to create job growth which sustains out communities.

Boland continues in the FT

Many believe that the Irish-British relationship has already reached the moment of psychological liberation that FitzGerald anticipated. Its economy is arguably more exposed to the US than to Britain. Yet the idea that Britain is in decline, and that Brexit could lead to the eventual break-up of the UK, is one of the assumptions behind the new strand of thinking about Anglo-Irish relations.

Northern Ireland is discussed in a separate box

It is hard to overstate the concern in Dublin about the implications of Brexit for the peace process in Northern Ireland, community relations, and border communities. Moreover, Northern Ireland’s ability to make its own case inside the UK is likely to be hindered by its latest brush with political crisis after Sinn Fein walked out of the power-sharing government last week.

Will Enda Kenny follow up Theresa May’s dance of the seven veils on Tuesday with one of his own ?  Will there be a reply to the “ threat” of lower UK  corporation tax  perhaps to rival Ireland’s?  I bet anything he will avoid making a bold binary choice. We await with bated breath.

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  • Sir Rantsalot

    I’m not asking for a debate on the merits. My point is that your sources of info are almost certainly the MSM. The brain washed masses are all afraid of a ‘catastrophe’ because this is what project fear has tried to instill in people. If you are watching the beeb, you are listening to an anti brexit propaganda broadcast. Try reading / watching RT, Breitbart/London, Zero Hedge.
    There are loads of upward economic stats, none of which will make it to the Biased Broadcasting Corporation.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Country decides to reclaim full sovereignty, full control via its own parliament, full control of its laws.

    Brainwashed masses think “Catastrophe”

    LOL 🙂

  • Obelisk

    Russia Today is a mouthpiece for the Kremlin. Breitbart is the congregation of some of the most unsavory elements in modern politics. Just because they are not the ‘MAINSTREAM MEDIA’ does not endow them with a magical authenticity other channels do not have. Because you clearly presume they tell the truth where the ‘MAINSTREAM MEDIA’ lie, you are falling victim to a confirmation bias of your very own.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    No, of course no magical powers 🙂 But everyone needs to widen their sources of info to independent media. If you think RT is a mouthpiece of the Kremlin, maybe you also believe that Russia ‘hacked’ the US election and swung it to Trump with fake news about whiter than white Hilary? 🙂 FYI everyone is laughing at that, apart from the brainwashed !

    I suggest watching the documentaries of John Pilger on YouTube. Hes very poshly spoken and wont offend you.
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=john+pilger+documentaries

  • Kevin Breslin

    Qashqui a bunch of Turk nomads … Oh how ironic given Farage’s pathological hatred of them all.

    Think it’s reasonable after 41 years complaining about bananas and toasters and Romani beggars who are going to get in post Brexit anyway, people interested in industry or near a border are worried about the UK freight and customs laws interference in their business.

    How many nations to Leave supporters think will wear the UK’s Straightjacket and limit themselves accordingly? One (UK) might not even happen.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The EU has 25 of the 50 richest nations in the world in terms of GDP per capita. I’d say it’s self evident. The U.K. hasn’t gotten that wealth despite the EU, but because it was an active member of the EU.

    The problem with the way Brexit was advertised is it was full of contempt for the people in the UK who actually brought in money.

    Instead you had shouty politicans say the Germans will desperately give their cars away because they need British money and we’re waving flags. Trade Deficit stuff. Going to try that trick with a few Irish tricolours, shout we buy more from you than you buy from us and see how many Aston Martins I get … I know it’s Aston Martin is not 100% British these days, but you see my point.

    These scheisters pretty much promised money for the NHS for doing nothing, cheaper food for doing nothing, glorious trade deals from doing nothing, population control doing nothing, better jobs doing nothing, lower feul costs doing nothing, because the EU and the rest of the world owed Britain.

    Wonder how many English cities will like being worn down loyalist slums when the jingoism wager fails to pay off?

    Suppose it’ll drive away the migrants though, well the well paid ones anyway.

  • Kevin Breslin

    How many of those who believe this “bigger picture” nonsense want to live in a world with only English speaking Christians/atheists from their own community and have few networks beyond their computer?

    I am wishful that the sensible people in the UK find their voice among the Walter Mitley folk, I have a far bigger respect for British Engineers and British economists than British “Bovine Excrement” Marketeers.

    The EU has problems but people deal with them if they can.

    The U.K. has problems but people just want to blame the EU.

  • John Devane

    Easily.

  • John Devane

    Look NI is a basket case. The UK electorate are not going to say we want Brexit but hang on let’s not act in our self interest because it may have or may not have an adverse affect on the Irish border. Get real

  • John Devane

    Spoken like a true EU loyalist

  • John Devane

    Or simply rejecting the superstate gravy train you’re so enamoured by

  • John Devane

    You talk as if Brexit means no more immigration when in fact it means controlled immigration and no thanks to a future inside an EU superstate

  • Sir Rantsalot

    “worried about the UK freight and customs laws interference in their business”

    You might hear this repeated on the anti Brexit pro Globalist Biased Broadcasting Corporation. If customs laws were really a problem, then no nation state would be able to trade with any other nation state around the world. As this international trading has been going on for 1000s of years, this is a bit of a red herring.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I would say spoken like someone who values engineers and diplomats over journalists and commentators who know nothing but act like they know everything.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Keep telling yourself British politicans dont claim exorbitant expenses.

  • John Devane

    Kevin UK politicians were rightly exposed for their abuse of expenses but I bet it has nothing on the EU expenses racket. Has that been investigated? Or are they beyond reproach in your opinion

  • Kevin Breslin

    SPOILER ALERT: The UK won’t control immigration. Daniel Hannon admitted as much, and he’s typical of Tory party policy.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You clearly don’t know the difference between a problem and an impossibility. Customs work in other countries through hard work and effort.

    Shame on the biased BBC for like reporting from customs borders of Norway and Sweden rather than letting some drunk from a pub who hasn’t researched the matter tell the world his opinion.

    Wonder if the same drunk from the pub is willing to have his beliefs about how the world works put to the test or rather drink another bottle and stay in his bubble.

  • John Devane

    So there will be an open doors immigration policy post Brexit. Is that what you’re saying?

  • John Devane

    UK politicians were caught red handed but I bet it’s nothing compared to the EU gravy train. Are you happy with their abuse of expenses?

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Still at your old tricks Kev? Diversionary replies trying to change the subject? Norway and Sweden, drunks, pubs? 🙂

    Nation states have traded with each other for 1000s of years without needing to be in a customs union. Are you calling the UK doing this an impossibility? Ridiculous. Its not even a problem, its just a requirement for more paperwork and procedures. You know, the normal stuff they do in other countries !! No one competent enough to run a business would consider this a problem that would have them stumped. Nothing crippling. Every other country can manage it quite well.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It’s just common sense to ignore and dismiss the opinions of those who have no evidence or experience to back them up.
    People are tired of listening to egotists like Michael Gove.
    I mean anyone who treats Farage or any politican like him as some sort of polymath fountain of knowledge without the slightest bit of scrutiny pretty much deserves to learn that the rest of the world simply doesn’t want to behave or even think like that.

    I mean you are talking about similar people who pretty much invented problems like bendy bananas so they could have a problem with the EU.

    The Leave side seem addicted to scapegoating, sloth and denial like a bunch of repressed and regressed teenagers.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Soooooooooo, nothing to say about international trading outside a customs union being the norm for the rest of the world?

  • Kevin Breslin

    The vast majority of them have customs problems and issues and have to work at it. It’s ironic you seem to think it’s only a matter of a bit of paperwork, yet many Eurosceptics were losing their heads over red tape, and now they are just think the solution to their red tape problem increasing their red tape and having more red tape from abroad too. The U.K. has avoided customs with a lot of its nearest neighbours and has shared the customs regulatory burden dealing with other nations with 27 other nations, so this is very much at is own inconvienience even before the practical side of enforcing a more cumbersome customs burden comes into play.

    Maybe they can call it “red, white and blue tape” so it’s easier to swollow for gullible English nationalists who’d believe anything so long as it comes with the right bunting. I mean they are quite sensitive and thin skinned.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Irish government just listened to the First Minister of Scotland, the British Parliament gave Scotland a referendum on leaving. It’s not in the gift of anyone in Ireland to determine Scotland’s constitutional position.

    It’s also highly unlikely that there was any plans in place for mitigating the consequences of the U.K. leaving the EU upon the island of Ireland, when it is clear there was not even a plan and still really isn’t a plan in place for the UK leaving the EU.

    The Irish are using their EU advantage to get businesses fleeing the future non-EU UK. While the UK tries to create some ab initio model that only it understands, the Republic of Ireland can provide some certainty and insurance for British businesses not so far away from home, even as a temporary measure.

    On the loan, a significant chuck of that bilateral loan was to keep RBOS owned Ulster Bank within ROI solvent, so it wasn’t charity so much mutual interest.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Any figures on the number of Brits that supported the Nazis?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Tellingly absent from her speech.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Tell me when it’s in the Guardian lol.

  • Kevin Breslin

    When there’s a convultated freight border in Ireland there’s going to have to be one in the Eurosceptic heartlands of Tory South East England. They can use their handwaves to wave away the soot and smug of the tailbacks of haulage vans in their backyards.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Which may highlight a major weakness of the functionality of the U.K. Political union here.

  • Kevin Breslin

    What really makes you think both a state owned newsite and a privately owned newsite are independent, one’s independent of private ownership, one’s independent of state ownership, you’d have to be clear on the independence that you are talking about.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Given all the UK was doing was using its full soverignty to excercise voluntary treaty agreements it signed up to through said parliament, it was already independent with connections.

    The fact people think somehow think being anti-EU is somehow the reason for their own lack of agency, perhaps is more of a tragedy.

    Calling the likes of car manufacturers, universities, services businesses, farmers, small to medium business owners and medical professionals who pay taxes, make a judgement call that there’s advantages of being in the EU by themselves Brainwashed by the mainstream media is just a divisive show of contempt towards contributors to the UK nation.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nation states were pretty much absorbed into empires compared to post war world of relatively independent states forming common networks. So I really don’t get the fact that nationality will reign, when there are at least 10 times more nationalities than nation states these days.

    Kurds, Basques, Chechens, Scots … ?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Newry Canal is nice.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And so East Germany joined the Warsaw Pact and lived happily ever after.

    Regardless of the Politics, regardless of walls, Terence O’Neill put it best we have the Same Rivers, Same Mountains and Some of the Same Problems.

    Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can no more seperate socially and economically than they can geophysicaly.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Perhaps the Common Travel Zone having more terrorism in its frontiers than the entire history and geography of the Schengen Area put together over 40 years is somehow got the track record of proving to be safer.

    The latest high profile one the terrorist shooting of Jo Cox.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You mean Scotland will be put off independence by efforts that would make Irish unity more desirable?

    Well that’s an interesting dilemma to have for Westminster assuming that’s what is believed there.

  • John Devane

    NI is a fragile political entity. No one is denying it

  • John Devane

    That’s not true for the vast majority. Hatred of the Scots? More like piss taking especially Nicola Sturgeon. If Scotland want Independence thenn good luck. Except they don’t and for good reason

  • Sir Rantsalot

    I’m thinking in terms of unbiased and full reporting. You’re right in terms of state owned or private, would not be technically the same kind of independence. I’m thinking more in terms of what they report. Do they cover all the details, or drop important details and blow up minor details to change the viewers impression of the subject matter? Do they never report on the elites? I missed the BBC documentary into the Clintons pay to play, or their Saudi and Chinese backing ! 🙂
    RT is great because it can give the details on western news that is silenced in western media. But I wouldn’t expect it to give details of Russian corruption.
    The BBC is totally biased towards globalist elites. It is still anti Brexit, everything bad that they report is ‘due to the brexit vote’. They never report on the good economic news. They selectively played short clips of Trumps speeches when he said something goofy, never the real issues like jobs going to China and tackling Islamic terrorism. I’ll be watching the inauguration via YouTube and infowars.com with Alex Jones, not the BBC.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Look at what the current UK trade negotiator got sacked from the MOD for.

  • dcomplex

    Can it, Breslin.

  • dcomplex

    Much less than 60% by 1941, retard. It was mostly pacifists who supported them lol.

  • Hugh Davison

    Go away, hasbara troll.

  • Hugh Davison

    Good excuse to start a war with someone (anyone?).

  • Kevin Breslin

    Really, 60% you say … The Irish would not have stayed neutral on those figures.

  • Superfluous

    I was recently asked about the migrant crisis, with my friend saying “it must be horrendous!?” – to which my answer “um, I don’t anything in my life has changed at all?”

    Honestly, the biggest threat to something in my life changing is the small minded Brexit types gaining power.

  • Kevin Breslin

    So long as the anarchy doesn’t upset their routines. LOL.

    The big problem is that a lot of the people who voted leave wanted to take back control, but they really don’t understand how anything is kept under control.

    At least wet dreams have something productive in their contents.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    You call Brexit people small minded, then go on about how you’re ok so there is no problem. LOL 🙂 Why don’t you be a woman who has been gang raped by migrants, then maybe there will actually be a problem…

  • Kevin Breslin

    We’ll see how much the Leave side commitment to anarchy lasts when many of the comforts and conveniences of the last 40 odd years go away.

    Also it’s hard to reconcile supporting anarchy with also supporting a structured process like democracy.

  • Kevin Breslin

    They really aren’t worth wasting time upon, they’ve very little to contribute but a regurgitated vendetta against the EU stuck together by their own duck the issues duck tape.

  • Kevin Breslin

    To be fair, it is very likely to be an exercise of political self harm but if we are talking about political events throughout the island since the Romans named part of it Brittania, it’s not quite English Civil War, the medieval Wars of Religion nor even the Peterloo Massacre yet.

    So the comment it is the single biggest act of self harm in its history is a bit hyperbolic at this stage.

    Then again, the U.K. nearly “accidentally” nuked the Americans during the referendum campaign, so what do I know will happen in the future!

  • dcomplex

    lol k bro keep that cognitive dissonance reduction going steady.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You are the one assuming there was a one party state ruled by the Blueshirts, when the reality was it had a minority FF government … back when Cormac Breslin was the Ceann Comhairle … not sure if he’s related to me though. 😉