Former Irish ambassador Ray Bassett has written a detailed report for the UK think-tank Policy Exchange entitled After Brexit, Will Ireland be Next to Exit? He argues that Ireland should seriously consider whether or not it stays in the European Union, and he appears to favour an Irish exit.
The issues raised by Bassett certainly deserve serious deliberation. As shown in the UK’s referendum, those in favour of continued EU membership were found wanting when it came to articulating the benefits for remaining within the EU. It would be highly risky to assume that Irish voters will continue to support Ireland’s EU membership if a referendum was held five or ten years down the road, once the future UK-EU relationship is clearer and potentially major changes have occurred in the European Union itself. After all, Ireland has already voted ‘no’ to two referendums on EU treaties.
In my opinion, it is not a case of anyone saying they simply agree or disagree with Bassett’s report, as there are a number of separate arguments and ideas to be addressed. In order to engage with the issues that he has raised, I have written my own analysis, which is essentially from a social democratic perspective that is in favour of a reformed, more democratic EU: Should the Republic of Ireland Stay in the European Union? (click on the link to read more)