“Ireland has already won more power than any Gibraltar veto, it just needs to decide what to do with it… “


  • Gavin Smithson

    Nothing a few well placed warships off Malaga and Cork couldn’t help. Everyone thinks the age of war in Europe is over. Not on anyone’s nelly. If the conditions are right, so be it

  • Enda

    The age of Empire is definitely over though.

  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    I’m sure you’d be the first one to sign up. Captain Smithson leader of the keyboard warrior division

  • DanCan

    England struggled to fend off the Argentinians and basically hasn’t won a conflict since.
    Ireland failed, all Middle East invasion failed and their Afghanistan occupation went the same way.
    I dare say fighting the EU would be hell of a stretch now.
    And I know you’re just provoking nonsense on here but you do represent a strain of folk who do actually think like that, kinda like our local comedian victims campaigner recently, and not so recent I guess.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Will you sign up and enter battle bravely at the head of your men?

  • Salmondnet

    OK, so no deal then. Enjoy your Irish unity, with about one sixth of your population profoundly disaffected, and trading with the UK on WTO terms or not at all.

  • Reader

    DanCan: Ireland failed
    There must be a United Ireland then. I hadn’t noticed.
    DanCan: …and their Afghanistan occupation went the same way.
    It was your Afghanistan occupation too. Didn’t you know?
    And are you contending that those who fight the Brits have nothing to worry about but a bit of minor inconvenience?

  • Enda

    Ireland wasn’t an occupier of Afghanistan.

  • It looks like Brexit has defeated Westminster and it will end up being a soft Brexit. The backtracking has begun and the Brexiteers are about to be betrayed.

  • Reader

    Enda: Ireland wasn’t an occupier of Afghanistan.
    Is this a fake news site, then?

  • eireanne3

    Brigadier Smithson – at the very least!!!

  • eamoncorbett

    Just to let you know , the US navy has a base in Rota Southern Spain , will your warships be blasting those as well .

  • 1729torus

    How would the British economy be able to sustain a navy whilst being subjected to the Continental System MK II? No doubt they’ll find the money somewhere to buy medicines for the NHS in the face of the inflation caused by depreciation….

    What if people start taking potshots at Britsh vessels off the Irish coast? What if Scotland decides that it doesn’t want to risk an IRA bomb at Falsane? What if … ?

    And that’s assuming that no other European power decides to get involved militarily.

  • Enda

    You consider that an occupation?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I would hope so too, … I mean those looking for:

    Empire 2.0 (Commonwealth Substitution policy) or dare I say it

    Ireland 2.0 (low tax/smaller state),

    Should be looking really at the UK in Europe 2.0 (de facto “associate” membership).

    The British public Leave side don’t exactly want more foreigners benefiting from two way free trade or a two-tier healthcare. A Hard Brexit would break Britain under the weight of unmanageable expectations.

    Trying to contort both your internal and external environments to a path of fantasy rather than feasibility was always going to be an impossible task.

  • Reader

    Enda: You consider that an occupation?
    The UN ISAF mission was either an occupation or it was not. Either way, both the UK and Ireland took part. 130 Irish troops went there from the Irish defence forces.
    Maybe the issue is that you regard “occupation” as a loaded term? I don’t. But whatever you call it, my point was that the UK and Ireland were in on it together – do you dispute that?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nah, the missionaries to save England from itself from Ireland, Scotland and France will be on their way.

  • Roger

    I always remind people that until 1922 it was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The entire empire was as much Ireland’s as it was any other UK region’s.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And now it’s over, time for both of our islands to move on.

    P.S. For over 200 years … Irish people were only at the top position for 4/5 years with Wellington (twice) and Shelbourne.

    Compare this to Mary McAlease’s time as Irish President.

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: Compare this to Mary McAlease’s time as Irish President.
    Taoiseach is the ‘top position’, not President. If Taoiseach isn’t the top position, then Prime Minister isn’t either.

  • Reader

    Just watched the video. Any of the EU 27 can veto a deal (even if they don’t like it just because of the font used on the printout). Ireland and Spain are 2 of the 27, so, yes they have a veto, just like e.g. Luxemburg.
    The really important point about the 3 paragraphs is that they have to be built into the deal. That’s 3 fewer things for the UK and Ireland to worry about, but it’s no extra power to Ireland.

  • Kevin Breslin

    How many Irish born Kings or Queen were there on the throne?

  • Katyusha

    From your own link

    Seven troops are currently based in the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force.
    Their non-combat roles are in the areas of planning and administration.

    Hahaha. Sure, Reader, call such a thing an “occupation” if you want.

  • Enda

    Only for the people who had a say in the running of things.

    By that logic the empire also belonged to slaves as they were also an integral part of it.

  • Enda

    7 troops is what I read – and we’re not forcing our ‘imperial sovereignty’ upon the Afghan people.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I really think that sort of culture of patronising and contempt for other countries is a large reason why the United Kingdom will lose so much in international negotiations at home and abroad.

    Compare this to a nation that has fussed over blue passports and imperial measurements used only in the United States, Myanmar and Liberia and insist that all business is done in a working language shared by only 5% of the world population. Also Bendy Bananas, Migrants are to blame for everything and all that.

    Do you really think things are going to break down because Austria is going to hold out to have the whole thing in Helvetica while Italy insists on Time News Roman?

    There may be competing conflicts of interests, but that leaves plenty of scope for diplomacy between nations. It’s not going to be on fickle aesthetics like fonts … or say big ships and flags, but on the realpolitik of common trade and economic partnerships between small nations on a common continent like Spain, Poland, France and Germany and their small national partners like the United Kingdom, Norway, Turkey and Switzerland in a very big world.

    Let’s put things into perspective…

    France including its overseas territories is smaller in land than Zambia
    Spain is smaller in land than Yeman.
    Germany is smaller in land than Uzbekistan
    United Kingdom is smaller in land than New Zealand.
    Little Northern Ireland is half the size of the Solomon Islands.

    The European Union with or without the United Kingdom is bigger than all but 7 single nations and there are over 80 bigger than United Kingdom.

    I’m confident more can be done with twenty seven nations working together to find a new common ground first, and a separate one between that twenty seven.

    European Union doesn’t try to force a one size fits all on the twenty seven, that’s what the United Kingdom tries to do.

    The European Union aims for Unity in Diversity, while its very clear in the United Kingdom it’s seeming like Unity in a very rigid, unbending and conservative parochial form of Englishness still thinking it is still the despot of the Commonwealth of Nations.

  • Roger

    The Irish had a say. They elected members to the Imperial Parliament. Alas, the slaves did not.

  • Enda

    Catholics couldn’t stand in parliament until after 1829, that’s 29 years after Ireland was forced into the union. That’s 29 years that Catholics couldn’t vote while being ‘british’ citizens.

    Even after that date freeholder rights were made too expensive to ensure the poor Catholic vote wouldn’t overwhelm the Protestant vote.

    Besides – the Irish people voted the Brits out of Ireland in 1918. A clear demonstration of our antithesis towards colonial ambitions.

    I applaud you for not letting a little thing like history stand in the way of your blinkered world view.

  • 1729torus

    That they are recycling ideas like the Commonwealth shows how much the UK’s political class in London has declined over the past few decades. They are literally out of idea.

    Theresa May is trying to play at being Thatcher, who in turn tried to play at being Churchill over the Falklands. So we have a caricature of a caricature.

    The UK’s government is dominated by venal and incompetent liars like Liam Fox. You can actually trace the decline from Blair through Cameron and onto Johnson.

    I actually think that the failure of the UK to get anything after all that haughty rhetoric will be a substantial political blow. Everyone will be asking whether there is any point to “Britain”. It will shake the “Inner Empire”, like how the UK’s loss of Singapore shook its hold over India.

  • grumpy oul man

    The entire empire was England and nobody else’s,
    It was not a voluntary coalition but rather one gained by force of arms and maintained by force of arms to be exploited in whatever manner it English masters seen fit.
    The empire didn’t belong to Ireland or India it belonged to England.

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: I really think that sort of culture of patronising and contempt for other countries is a large reason why the United Kingdom will lose so much in international negotiations at home and abroad
    For goodness sake. All I did was point out that each country has a veto. Any additional veto/clause is superfluous. And by the way, you seem to want deference rather than respect for the EU27, but you offer nothing of either to the UK.
    Kevin Breslin: Do you really think things are going to break down because Austria is going to hold out to have the whole thing in Helvetica while Italy insists on Time News Roman?
    Sometimes I wonder about you. Think of it as a sort of metaphor, or illustration. Any of the 28 can veto a deal, for any reason, or supplying no reason at all.

  • Reader

    Enda, the ISAF mission lasted 13 years. Personnel were rotated, and the 7 were the last of them to leave. The article was a starting point, to get you over the first hurdle, from ignorance to denial. You could have googled ISAF and learned much more.
    Now, as to what the UK and Ireland were doing in the ISAF mission – we were both there under the same terms and on the same mission. If the UK was “occupying” Afghanistan, then so was Ireland. If the UK was imposing (UN?) ‘imperial sovereignty’, then so was Ireland.

  • Reader

    Enda: Only for the people who had a say in the running of things.
    The electorate, then.

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: How many Irish born Kings or Queen were there on the throne?
    So, you have changed your mind; Head of State is now the top position, not your original contention that the Head of Government is the top position?
    You have moved the goalposts.

  • Roger

    In, I think 1800 or 1830, one in three British soldiers was from the former Ireland.

  • Reader

    Katyusha: Hahaha. Sure, Reader, call such a thing an “occupation” if you want.
    As I pointed out to Enda, this was the tail end of the ISAF mission which involved 130 personnel from the Irish Defence Forces – and in fact Ireland was still on the ISAF mission when the UK left.
    Also, it was DanCan who called the ISAF mission an ‘occupation’ – I have been more open on the matter. Everyone else seems to want to consider ISAF either as a British Occupation or an Irish Holiday Camp. I’m guessing you assign each of the 42 countries that took part in ISAF to one category or the other based on similarly subjective criteria?
    Do you at least accept SF’s concerns: “but the concern we have is that increasingly our troops are involved in operations that seem to be aligned to NATO objectives, and that they take part in EU Battle Group exercises.”

  • Roger

    The Irish people voted the Brits out….evidence again that the Irish had a say. Were slaves given the vote in 1829?

  • Katyusha

    130 troops. Jesus wept. I think there wouldn’t be as much consternation about British military history in Ireland had they only ever sent 130 troops. Sure, I am going to judge military actions based on what actually happened and how the military deployment unfolded. I’m not naive enough to take everything a military coalition says at face value, especially as one of the most important factors in a military campaign is is to disguise and conceal your objectives and sometimes identity. I do regard the multinational nature of the ISAF mission as nothing more than a fig leaf by the US to conceal the effectively unilateral motivation of their invasion, with NATO and especially the UK and Australia in tow. On that note, would you not regard the British operation in Helmand as substantially different in character to a small Irish deployment consisting of medics, trainers and bomb disposal experts? Or do you subscribe to a Fox-news style “boots on the ground are boots on the ground” philosophy?

    Do you at least accept SF’s concerns: “but the concern we have is that increasingly our troops are involved in operations that seem to be aligned to NATO objectives, and that they take part in EU Battle Group exercises.”

    I do indeed. Well, EU Battle Group I can live with, but Ireland’s armed forces should have absolutely nothing to do with NATO, in my view. Unfortunately, our government is often unwilling to stand up to American pressure.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Where did I say I wanted deference, and surely as the UK are the ones breaking away from the Single Market, they voted to defer how it works to everybody else that remains within it?

    The UK not sorting out its own “single market” issues if that is new unionist phraseology which would include customs checks in Ireland is a deference that I have criticised the UK many times before.

    I feel sorry for British Olympians, the “reflected glory” of that hard worked success in Rio is being used to mask increasingly translucent lack of competences elsewhere as well as the indecision and inhibitions from an ideology of wanting others to give you cake freely and watch you eat it.

    I agree with Newton, the Irish should be fine staying in Europe and strengthening its historic networks with continental Europe, it doesn’t need to be Britain 2.0 or backup Britain, it’s free from the shackles of Brexit’s massive weight of expectation.

  • Reader

    Sorry Kevin. I can’t keep up with your contextual leaps. It’s as though you are having a separate dialogue with someone whose words I can’t see.

  • Reader

    Katyusha: 130 troops. Jesus wept.
    Turns out it was 223. I suppose 130 must have been the peak numbers.
    That’s a nice picture of a man enjoying the scenery from the sun-deck, isn’t it?
    Katyusha: On that note, would you not regard the British operation in Helmand as substantially different in character to a small Irish deployment consisting of medics, trainers and bomb disposal experts?
    Soldiers were sent on the ISAF mission. They go where they are sent and do what they are told to do. The fighting in Helmand was not through ISAF choice, it is because that is where the Taliban chose to fight. Presumably you accept that the job of the bomb disposal experts is to defuse bombs – therefore their job is to leave the base (alone or in company with armed soldiers, do you suppose?) and de-fuse roadside bombs. I take it that you assume that if there was fighting to be done (in Kabul), the Irish would do their part.

  • Trasna

    Three choices for Irishmen , starve, emigrate or join the British army. Great choices.

  • Roger

    They chose Empire and now we want to write them out of it. Shame.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Two Deputy Prime Ministers from Northern Ireland.

    What’s the highest ranks we’ve gotten in British Politics …

    Castlereagh perhaps? Maybe Ruth Kelly or Kate Hoey?

  • Enda

    I don’t believe I mentioned anywhere that the UN mission was an occupation, although I would happily concede that it was, an occupation on a global scale of which Ireland was a very small player.

    You could count on one hand the amount of countries that Irish Republicanism, or the southern state, has been involved in, and half of those conflicts have been with the British state.

    How many countries has the British state been to war with, or occupied, or both?

    It’s easy to see who the true antagonists are when viewed from this perspective.

  • the rich get richer

    Couldn’t we look after Gibraltar in the EU for the Brits for a token fee . Sure we’re best buddies now and didn’t they loan us a few pound there when we were stuck……

    While we’re at it we might as well look after Northern Ireland and Scotland…….jeez this getting on with the Brits is more work than we thought………..

  • Kevin Breslin
  • grumpy oul man

    Yep and most of the workers in the sugar plantations were slaves that doesn’t mean they supported the sugar industry
    Most men joined the army to escape extreme poverty not because of some love for the Empire.
    One of the advantages of empire is they your colonial subjects make great renewable cannon fodder.

  • grumpy oul man

    Well invading countries around the world and plundering their wealth and murdering anybody who objects is shameful.
    There is no glory in armed robbery, by the way met any native Tasmanians lately.

  • grumpy oul man

    During the jolly old empire the electorate was limited to the rich, in other words those who made fortunes from the empire.
    The people didn’t have a say.
    Hardly a democracy.

  • grumpy oul man

    When the English refused to honor the results of the election after Carson staged his little rebellion it took a war to get the English out.

  • Roger

    Yes. But that doesn’t change that the Irish were in it up to their eyeballs

  • Barneyt

    Them. You’re English though.
    Me: Eh… can’t you hear my accent ? Them: Oh well yes but your northern Irish though?
    Me: Yes that’s true.
    Them: oh well , British, English …same thing

    Actual event

  • grumpy oul man

    as were the slaves in the sugar plantations (oh you are aware that many Irish were sent to the Americas as slaves) really Roger the Empire was a bad thing ,brought on by force, the impoverished in the conquered lands became the foot soldiers of the masters.
    look at any empire in history and you will see the same thing.

  • John Devane

    He makes little sense at the best of times.

  • Roger

    Bad thing or not, the Irish can’t shrug it off as just an English thing.

  • Nevin

    European Parliament Joint motion for a resolution.

    Is Ireland, the state, anything more than a pawn in this German/European Commission enterprise?

  • Enda

    The WASP race definitely had more of a problem with people who had a darker pigment of skin, that’s for sure. Although John Hurt’s character portrayal of an English bounty hunter in colonial Australia from the film ‘The Proposition’ summed the sentiment of the time quite well. One line in particular stood out, ‘What is an Irishman but a n****r turned inside out’.

    It was a long hard road for the Irish to get to 1918 and beyond…

    For some it still is.

  • grumpy oul man

    oh yes we Can, they conquered us,the English crown ruled us, they controlled the army who invaded half the world.
    Show me the Irish familys that got rich from empire, Not Anglo Irish who got there land from invasion but actual Irish.

  • Paul Hagan

    Yes, as a member state Ireland is a player is this game. It just feels like British influence in Europe being eroded constantly all of this.

  • Nevin

    Paul, the game I was thinking of was chess. You’ll recall how Ireland has been treated when it wasn’t in-step with the further integration project.

  • Trasna

    Your ability to speak to the dead is impressive. Maybe you should set up a business at local fairs. People actually pay to speak to the dead, even through an intermediary.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    They chose to live and not (at first) die. The Empire was unfortunately for them, often the only means of survival available.

  • Paul Hagan

    I assume you’re referring to the Lisbon Treaty referenda? I did a Slugger piece on that somewhile back, I could dig it out. I recall it ended-up keeping its Commissioner and seat at the table and well, managed to keep all its pieces on the board so to speak, if you’re using a chess metaphor