#Irexit: it’s make your mind up time for the Irish Republic. 

Jeff Peel has already made the case for welcoming the opportunities that Brexit offers Northern Ireland business. Down South, the mood has changed from believing Brexit would never happen, seeing it happen, to a realization of the change that brings to the Republic’s economic outlook. It needs to decide on its best options going forward, and soon. 

Nothing new, but there have been hugely irresponsible noises coming out of Dublin to the effect that Brexit means a return to violence in Northern Ireland.

The only return to the past being indicated is the use by the Republic’s politicians of events related to Northern Ireland as a distraction away from the economic and political realities on its own doorstep

Republic of Ireland exports and business life are principally oriented towards two of the world’s largest economies: the UK and the USA. A lot has been made of the EU “single market of 500-million people”.

However, once the UK leaves the EU, the combined markets of the UK, Canada and USA are within the ballpark of the EU population, but with a greater nominal GDP.

With UK departure, the Republic will be sending almost two thirds of its exported goods (and the same of its services) outside the remaining EU 26, and purchasing around two-thirds of its imports from outside the 26, according to the most recent Irish 2015 Central Statistics Office figures.

Meanwhile, while much is made of arrangements to take goods from Dundalk to Letterkenny, effectively passing through the UK, that volume of trade shrinks compared to trade flowing between the continent and the Republic across UK motorways from British port to British port.

Arrangements for goods crossing UK territory will cost money and effort, and no doubt the Republic will make a case for special EU funding in that regard. It should. It is already a net contributor to the EU (likely to increase significantly without the UK’s £12bn contribution); not counting the payments to French and German bondholders as Ireland’s cost of shoring up the Euro. 

On the upside, the Common Travel Area will continue. Irish citizens have more rights in the UK than those of Crown Dependencies. There is little indication that the British Government has any interest in repealing the clauses of the 1949 Act that effectively treat Irish Citizens as British in all but nationality.

The UK and the Republic are both outside the EU’s Schengen area. When Irish politicians shout that Ireland would not pay for immigration checks for those travelling to the UK, there’s clearly a lack of awareness that co-operation at that level already happens on a mutual basis under existing protocols.

Once Article 50 is triggered, the Republic of Ireland will be one voice in 27 at the negotiations. While the UK will not wish to compromise its good relations with the Republic, by the nature of negotiations it can only secure agreement with the 27 among which Ireland is a single small voice.

The Republic of Ireland has a significant choice to make in the next year or so. Does it make the best of its membership of the EU, and the significant disruption to trade and relationships this represents?

Or does the Republic accept that its economic interests lie outside the EU, making common cause on trade and development alongside its biggest trading partners and friends?

Or does the Republic accept that its economic interests lie outside the EU, making common cause on trade and development alongside its biggest trading partners and friends?

Once Article 50 is triggered the discussion between the UK and the EU27 will focus on the nature of future trade, not constitutional, arrangements post-Brexit. Truth is, as Lord Kilclooney recently wrote to the News Letter:

“The two alternatives are for the Republic to get special status within the EU or for the Republic to exit the EU the same day as the UK – that would mean there would be no problems at the border and would eliminate the damage now being caused to the Southern Irish economy.”

David Hoey is a Northern Ireland businessman. A fuller version of this article appears on the website thedissenter.co.uk

  • john millar

    They have always been selective checks at Larne and Belfast on outwards traffic

  • Kevin Breslin

    They are screwing their own nation’s reputation by letting it be seen not as a nation of shopkeepers but a nation of dodgy dealers.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Erm thought there were 3 airports that link NI to GB?

  • Kevin Breslin

    That cuts both ways you fools, particularly with a perishable item like food. How much NI food has to go the other way.

    God you’re myopic. The Irish can export their goods to at least 26 nations tariff free and nearly customs free, the Northern Irish only 1.

  • Trasna

    Or Ireland even.

    Why does Ireland moving away from the UK bring you out in a sweat?

  • Trasna

    The only people pushing for an Irexit are the British.

  • The Irishman

    Wise up

  • Damien Mullan

    You need to tap on the CSO website and gander through their publications, even pick up an Irish Times now and again, or hit on RTENews.ie as well, to contextualize the figures for you. As the CSO said in relation to the growth figures for 2016 produced on Thursday, the outflows more than cancel the inflows of funds, when airlines rent from leasing companies registered in Ireland, you don’t think they just sit on that money do you, no of course not, they have to send funds back out to buy those airlines from Boeing or Airbus. The 2015 figures were wholly out of kilter because corporate intellectual property was re-domiciled in Ireland, due of the closing of the Double Irish to new entrants in the previous budget. This action was a one off, but it permanently boasted Ireland’s capital base. It’s a massive gain and will increase the corporate tax take in the years ahead as Intellectual Property is higher value and accrues a higher tax take. Just some of the indicators that might be a giveaway that the economy in the Republic is powering along very powerfully; increase in employment of 3.3%; which equated to 65,000 full-time jobs, as well as the conversion of 7,000 part-time to full-time, bring 2016 full-time jobs to 72,000; Unemployment falling to 6.7%, from peak in 2012 of 15%; net in-ward migration of 4,000, a Budget Deficit of 0.9%, and Primary Budget Surplus of 1%: the fall in the National Debt to 77%; the massive increase in Tax Revenues which now surpass the pre-crisis peak set in 2007; Domestic Consumption increasing by 3%; state owned AIB reporting profits of 1.7 billion for 2016 and recommencing paying dividends; the Irish Times monthly crane survey for February 2017 reporting 60 cranes over the skies of central Dublin an increase of 8% from January 2017. Any of those metrics a help?

  • Roger

    Not sure Ceylonese would have fussed much. Irish or the British.

    North East Ulster people. A different bag of fish.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Sorry I need to brush up on my Brexit English:

    £350 million for the NHS means Nothing for the NHS
    Controlling Immigration means Driving a Van around hoping those nasty migrants go back where they cam from.
    Anti-protectionism means protecting the UK economy and labour market from foreign competition
    The World is open probably means the UK believes it controls the world when really all it can do is deal with the rest of the world’s closed doors to them.
    And Brexit means crawling back to the European Union when everything blows up by your own methods.

    Now in Proper English, Brexit is protectionist … and many Leavers voted Leave because the EU wasn’t protectionist enough.


  • Conor

    Firstly, all Jeff Peel’s cited advantages for N.I. post Brexit exist pre Brexit. He conveniently overlooks the negatives.

    ROI Leaving the EU change business relationships with non-EU countries over what is case today. A new currency would add overhead and more exchange rate uncertainty. Pegging a new currency to GBP or USD has proven to be difficult for smaller trading economies. The multinational use Ireland as a EU Base. If Irexit happens then this is no longer the case.
    Furthermore, trade deals don’t normally work well for smaller economy dealing with a much larger economy as they hold the trump(no pun intended) cards.

    On the roads arguements cited here, the Irish government is already a contributor to N.I. Roads such as the A5 construction.
    Irish hauliers are already paying a UK government imposed charges for use of GB. and N.I. road infrastructure for all HGVs. This does not change because of Brexit or Irexit. More port delays because of increased excise checks may mean putting more traffic through direct ferry links to French ports.
    Ireland maybe a net contributor to EU for access to markets but there are benefits for this.

    The Irish government stance can get complex, and needs to be vocal prepare to veto if it needs to.
    A Le Pen led France could complicate the process if it means France force even bigger changes as the future of the EU is at risk.

  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    UKNI isn’t a phrase. Stop Using it, it’s annoying

  • Jeffrey Peel
  • Jeffrey Peel

  • John Collins

    Two thoughts on that.Have you heard some Cockneys or indeed Lancashire people ‘attempting’ to speak English and how can ability to speak either language on a world basis be quantified?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    “Let us rejoice at the discomfiture of the Brussels Eurocrats and their acolytes in every EU country – in Ireland the likes of such anti-democratic, anti-national ideologues as Peter Sutherland, Alan Dukes, Brendan Halligan, Brigid Laffan et al, plus the clique of Eurofanatics that decides Irish Times editorial policy on the EU.” https://nationalplatform.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/project-hope-prevails-over-project-fear-in-brexit-referendum/

  • Roger

    Stop Irexit, stop UKNI….Hmmm. Naaah.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well even that is on the higher end to assuming most of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are completely fluent to a Linga Franca level at least.

  • Damien Mullan

    “Brexit should be accompanied by “Irexit” “. Make a go for it then. Go convince a majority of the Irish electorate in a referendum to remove the Lisbon Treaty from the Irish Constitution. You just got a fore taste yesterday of the slow burn antagonism that will define Anglo-Irish relations in the years ahead. The disgruntled annoyance with London was on display from Enda Kenny, after all, this is a man whose months long goodbye tour is predicated on his close relations with the British government, fat good it seems to have done him. Kenny gone’s in a few weeks, and Leo Varadkar’s pointed and sharp criticism of London a few weeks ago, seems very prescient of how Dublin will proceed going forward. I can only think that having a Taoiseach who is half Indian, will do wonders for Irish Indian relations in the years ahead too, long shot of that ever happening in the UK, my god, Gordon Brown got a punishing just because he was Scottish, old Disraeli had to suppress his Jewish heritage, no, the UK establishment is more closed to diversity than most golf clubs are to women. There’s no appetite in the south for leaving Europe, not even in Greece either, and they’d surely have more cause one might assume. Democracy is the frustrating bit for those advocating Irexit, the UK is leaving, that’s quite obvious, regrettable, but obvious in light of the decision taken by the UK’s electorate, consequences will follow, and they must follow, how ever painful for the UK or Ireland, but the Irish electorate have not made the decision to leave. You might gripe about there not being anti-EU party in the south, capable of winning sufficient support in the Dail to put a referendum to the people, but that’s democracy. As for the economic arguments against Irexit, they are so glaringly obvious as to need little rehearsal, the conversion to an Irish currency while the nation’s debt burden remained denominated in Euros is the most immediate and convincing, sufficient to render any thought of Irexit certifiably insane. If Ireland did leave, it would not be as a consequence of Brexit, or a referendum repealing Lisbon, it would be as a general breakup of the Eurozone area, a result of a catastrophic financial meltdown, brought about by a massive sovereign or banking implosion in one of the larger economies of the Eurozone, Ireland would on this basis, like every other member, be eject in the chaotic aftermath, after which talk of denominated debt in Euro would be mute.

  • the moviegoer


  • the moviegoer

    Westminster’s army would have decided it one way or the other, as was always the way.

    Let’s put it this way. If the British government/army decided to withdraw from Scotland, would it still be a country? Yes.

    If the British government/army decided to withdraw from Wales, would it still be a country? Yes.

    If the British government/army decided to withdraw from NI, would it still be a country? No. Not in the slightest.

    It’s a protectorate, Gibraltar on steroids. An anomaly. Nothing more. You’ve two options: UK or ROI. If you can’t feasibly exist on your own, you’re not a country. Time for reality to dawn.

  • the moviegoer

    So you’ve found one academic who supports it. Big deal. it would be amazing if there wasn’t one crank somewhere who wanted to make a name for himself. Nobody has heard of this guy and his “national platform”. His institute is at his home address.

    The only argument made in favour of Irexit is Ireland could negotiate a better deal with the anglosphere countries with which it already does most of its trade. This is too much of a “maybe”. America is going protectionist and if the UK’s economy falters, as is predicted, then that market collapses anyway. Most importantly, as part of the EU we can already trade with these countries, so why would we have to leave to ensure access to Canada, USA, Australia, UK? This goes against the official UK line, that trade with the EU will continue much as normal. And how many years will it take to negotiate trade deals with these countries one by one? 5? 10? The only real argument Brexiters and would-be Irexiters are interested in is immigration control and socking it to Johnny Foreigner. Thankfully nobody in the mainstream is drinking that kook-aid.

  • Keith

    I’m not in any way a Nelson McCausland fan. However, I do find it bizarre that people can’t bring themselves to say “Northern Ireland”. That applies to the Irish media as well. The GFA recognised Northern Ireland, and was endorsed by referenda both sides of the border. It, NI will cease to exist when the majority so wish it.

    I don’t personally take offence, because I don’t care much for the whole sectarian jig, but I do find it pathetic, and I can well understand how some see that as a lack of respect.

  • Katyusha

    That’s not the point. There is no such place as the Irish Republic – the name of the 26 county state is simply Ireland. The “Irish Republic” was the revolutionary state that was proclaimed by the first Dáil.
    Nelson claims he uses the proper name of the state, but in the very same sentence, he is refusing to call it by its proper name. He is also doing exactly the type of thing he was accusing SF of. The lack of self-awareness is remarkable.

  • Croiteir
  • the moviegoer

    “( I quote a former neighbour and Immigration official “with a UI we will be able to treat the Irish as the aliens they are”- )”

    Presumably this immigration official meant you as well in that.

  • John Collins

    I take your well made point. I am drawing Kevin’s attention to the fact that this change of positions between English and Spanish has only been noted recently.

  • John Collins

    Well at least the most successful airline company in Europe is an Irish one

  • Havelock Vetinari

    Another point is that the EU has never invaded Ireland and occupied its territory. Also, no Irish civilians have ever been murdered by EU soldiers.

  • Havelock Vetinari

    Better than you unionists who still live in the 1600’s.

  • Havelock Vetinari

    Three countries that have never invaded Ireland. Unlike Britain.

  • Havelock Vetinari

    Anything more complicated than adding two plus two brings him out in a sweat.

  • Havelock Vetinari

    Good point.

  • Havelock Vetinari

    If Brexit is such a good thing then why is it that it was generally the less educated people who voted for it?

  • Havelock Vetinari

    What countries will be open to Britain after Brexit that were closed to Britain before it?