“ambiguity… appears to have led Dublin and Brussels to interpret it as a maximalist position, while the DUP believed or were led to believe that it would or could be minimalist.”

The parlous state of the Brexit negotiations has been generating more than the usual level of idle speculation, and arrant nonsense. [Including on Slugger? – Ed] No names, no pack drill… But there are some intelligent points being made, in some places, which are worth keeping in mind – if you are actually thinking about these things.

Like other, usually reliable, observers, The News Letter’s Sam McBride, whilst initially a little puzzled by Monday’s developments, offered a coherent scenario yesterday.

When I asked the DUP last night if it had been consulted on the issue, a spokesman did not directly answer the question either way but stressed that the party had “regular discussions on all of these things” with the government and that there was an “ongoing dialogue” between the DUP and the government on Brexit.

Certainly there was a clear undertone in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s statement last night that something odd had gone on, with his suggestion that the UK government had agreed to the text on Northern Ireland only to withdraw that after Arlene Foster’s statement during the meeting with Mr Juncker, leaving him “surprised and disappointed”.

There is a more Machiavellian possibility. It could be that the DUP, knowing that having argued for Brexit and that because of its MPs’ leverage it is vulnerable to being blamed for any deal which is seen to undermine the unionist position, has calculated on something else: a very public flexing of its muscles now, allowing it to point back to how it stopped this deal if slightly more advantageous terms can be reached. [added emphasis]

And although this doesn’t look good for Mrs May, she potentially gains at least one card here: being able to say to Brussels that the Northern Irish question is not as simple as some there have presented it to be, and she is prepared to be more flexible than some of the Northern Irish parties, who she needs to bring with her.

And by today, his thoughts had crystallised further.

Mr Dodds said that the DUP accepts there could be “some sort of regulatory alignment – in certain specific areas” across the island of Ireland after Brexit but that Monday’s text had “far too much ambiguity”.

The text did appear to have considerable ambiguity – something that in one scenario could appeal to some DUP members if the text was to be legislatively interpreted by Stormont, where unionism would have a veto, but not if it was to be interpreted as Brussels and Dublin did.

Taken together, developments in the 24 hours after the DUP pulled the plug on the deal suggest that the party had been in the loop on this issue but was alarmed at either the leaked text or the way in which it was being spun in Brussels and Dublin.

The ambiguity – often constructive in putting a deal together but destructive later on – appears to have led Dublin and Brussels to interpret it as a maximalist position, while the DUP believed or were led to believe that it would or could be minimalist. [added emphasis]

If now, however, the debate is not about whether there can be regulatory alignment between Belfast and Dublin but about where that alignment should be, a deal would seem far more possible.

By way of illustration, here’s BBC NI political editor, Mark Devenport.

Two different forms of words are now doing the rounds.

Leaks from Brussels on Monday claimed a draft text said: “In the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will ensure that continued regulatory alignment with those rules of the internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support north-south cooperation and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.”

This would be open to the UK government to parse on the grounds of which rules are relevant to that agreement. [added emphasis]

The Irish Times has reported another formula which has apparently been disputed by the British government.

It says: “The UK remains committed to protecting north-south co-operation and a guarantee to avoiding a hard border.

“The UK’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship.

“Should this not be possible, the UK will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland.

“In the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will maintain full alignment with the internal market, customs union and protection of the Good Friday agreement.”

This appears more a comprehensive text, less open to interpretation and potentially creating an internal customs barrier within a post-Brexit UK. [added emphasis again]

So does the government widen the playing field across the UK or try to narrow the terms of the text dealing with Ireland?

The interpretation could be set to be a pivotal point – if Tánaiste, and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, is to be believed.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said the Government wants to give British Prime Minister Theresa May time and space to manage “difficult political issues”.

However, he said he did not want to give the impression that the Government would reverse away from the Brexit border deal that was in place yesterday.

Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, Mr Coveney said the Government will work with the British government on presentational issues around the text which had been agreed on the border, but the core meaning must remain as the Irish Government will not be reversing out of an agreement which they felt they had secured yesterday. [added emphasis]

And with an eye on the wider picture, here’s Brendan O’Neill at The Spectator’s Coffee House.

In 2008, the Irish people voted against the Lisbon Treaty, which was in essence a new constitution for the EU. A Brussels insider described them as ‘ungrateful bastards’. The EC said there was ‘no Plan B’ to Lisbon — in short, it would carry on regardless of what the daft Irish thought. Pro-EU commentators insisted the Irish had been brain-warped by ‘populist demagogues’. It was precursor to the snobbish, anti-democratic fury that has likewise greeted the Brexit vote in certain EU fanboy circles. On Lisbon, too, the Irish were forced to vote again, and again they gave in the second time round.

Not content with dissing Irish voters, the EU then took over the running of their country in 2011. It sent the Troika — the EC, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — to oversee an overhauling of Irish public spending in order to keep the Euro ticking over. The Troika suits were effectively an unelected government. In the words of an Irish Times account of how they conducted their affairs in Ireland, they ensured that ‘members of the government were deliberately kept in the dark’. A budget for Ireland was drawn up by EU officials who didn’t consult Ireland’s own cabinet. To the EU, Ireland is a kind of colonial outpost, and its people pesky, irritating know-nothings.

And yet now the EU says it is Ireland’s mate and trusts it to make big decisions. It really doesn’t. It wants Ireland to do one thing and one thing only: wound Brexit. Ireland is being played like a fiddle. It is being used by an EU that is still reeling from our brilliant Brexit sucker-punch and which is so desperate to preserve its flagging authority that it is willing to pit Ireland against Britain; the Irish government against the British people; Irish concerns against British democracy. This is cynical, divisive and dangerous. An oligarchical institution that has demonstrated nothing but contempt for Irish and British voters and which is so speedily losing the plot that it’s happy to stir up tensions between nations in order to do over a democratic vote? With each passing day I grow happier and happier that I voted for Brexit.

The possibility exists that the Irish Government may well be being played willingly… although, they are taking a greater risk than the rest of the EU.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Food First

    The Belfast Agreement shows no compitance or reference to the E U

  • Sharpie

    “The parlous state of the Brexit negotiations has been generating more than the usual level of idle speculation, and arrant nonsense. [Including on Slugger? – Ed] ”

    …and the post is then subsequently full of idle speculation. In the aftermath of whatever this was one may as well be invited to write your own interpretation of what happened because it seems that everyone has an inside track and yet none of the inside tracks align.

    This was supposed to be a moment to create the boundaries for the next 18 months, a safe container for letting everyone be aware of what was up for grabs. No one is any the wiser but many seem more certain their their already fixed views are brilliant and profound.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh don’t be silly, the reason why this has emerged as the best possible provisional deal that the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland could come up with is because the Democratic Unionist Party were busy drinking Jingo juice having nothing but soundbites to offer for proposals with the Irish Republic on an “Open border fit for Unionism” too.

    As Newton Emerson explains, it was never as alarmist as the DUP made it out to be.

    https://twitter.com/NewtonEmerson/status/938112351873662982

  • Viduka

    “Idle speculation on Slugger” does’nt come any bigger than this actual lead thread!

    The Spectator’s Coffee House as a reliable interpretation of the current state of play??? That whole piece by Brendan O’Neill is borderline moronic in it’s analysis :

    “And yet now the EU says it is Ireland’s mate and trusts it to make big decisions. It really doesn’t”.

    Good grief…

  • Jess McAnerney

    “But there are some intelligent points being made, in some places”

    Not this one however Pete.

    “The possibility exists that the Irish Government may well be being played willingly… although, they are taking a greater risk than the rest of the EU.”

  • runnymede

    Ireland and the EU still think they can stop Brexit altogether. And they have some allies in this goal among the powers that be in the UK. That is what is behind what has happened. This is not about the border at all – that is a smokescreen.

    Get rid of the perceived ambiguity about whether the UK is indeed leaving and the border issue will be solved soon enough.

  • JoeCro

    The UK/Ireland border cannot be secured. If the UK leaves the single market then there will have to be checks at British ports from Ireland/NI.

  • FOARP

    O’Neill’s piece is, well, somewhat deluded. The Republic hasn’t always been well served by the EU but the idea that they’re just patsies being used by the EU is daft. Varadkar is quite correct to point out that the UK government hasn’t offered any real solution to the problems Brexit will cause on the border and clearly Brexiteers just never gave it much thought.

    On the other hand the idea that the DUP is being unreasonable in all this doesn’t hold water. NI’s trade with the UK, not to mention it’s constitutional links, are important to many in NI, and the DUP is right to use the leverage it has to get the best deal it can get for NI. A deal that threatens links with the UK is a bad deal for NI however you look at it.

    Both the RoI and the DUP are using the influence they have now to the maximum extent. They both have to know that once matters are seen to move on from the border issue their influence will virtually disappear.

    The bonus for people in the rest of the UK is that we may end up all staying in the customs union and the single market as a result of their efforts.

  • Reader

    JoeCro: If the UK leaves the single market then there will have to be checks at British ports from Ireland/NI.
    Irish business people would hate that, wouldn’t they? Best to agitate for a free trade agreement ASAP.

  • JoeCro

    The EU/UK land border would be a magnet for crime, smuggling and people trafficking. It would essentially be impossible to police adequately.

  • Jess McAnerney

    There was no threat to east west trade with NI.
    We had an opportunity to have the best of both worlds.
    The DUP scuppered it because is MIGHT in their eyes weaken the political links between NI and GB, not in the best interests of NI

  • 1729torus

    NI’s very existence is endangered by a poor Brexit, so why should Dublin bother letting itself be bossed around if it less to lose? What we might call the “Ulster Protestant Nation” is endangered if NI goes – no one speaks of a “Soviet People” anymore.

  • runnymede

    why isn’t it a magnet for people trafficking now, when it is entirely open? Hmmm……

  • runnymede

    No – the DUP are very sharp on this. ‘Pending better agreements’…sounds reasonable enough but it’s a trap. The EU and ROI will never agree to any, keeping the ‘alignment’ permanent. That is what this is all about, and has been the Remain plan since the start.

  • Sean Danaher

    On Lisbon, too, the Irish were forced to vote again, and again they gave in the second time round.

    How often does this drivel need to be rebutted? This is typical of the right wing press which believes the British are so stupid that if you tell a lie often enough either through multiple right wing outlets or by hammering it home day after day through radio and television people will start believing you. This is a zombie statement; no matter how many times this is shown to be complete garbage it still comes back. Truly an example of the Newt Gingrich school “And that what people feel about an issue is more important than what the actual facts behind the issue are”.

    The EU has no authority to call a referendum in Ireland. The Irish rejected the Lisbon treaty because they declined to accept the loss of permanent representation on the Commission, which was planned for Ireland and other small countries as part of streamlining decision making. The govt made it clear that there would be no 2nd referendum on the original terms.

    In due course the plans to remove Ireland’s Commissioner was dropped and some other issues of concern, including Ireland’s traditional neutrality, were resolved, and then the Lisbon treaty was passed. So much for the EU bullying Ireland and telling it to vote again, a lie repeated endlessly by uninformed Brits and British tabloids who are regarded with derision in Ireland and the rest of Europe for their bigotry and wilful ignorance.

  • Neville Bagnall

    O’Neill is also misreading the O’Toole article, which is complaining about actions of Irish Ministers without the full and formal agreement of Cabinet.

  • Obelisk

    Yeah but the story Ireland stood it’s grounds till the reasons the treaty was blocked were addressed, then passed the now acceptable measure doesn’t fit a pro-brexit narrative.

  • JoeCro

    Brexit is about taking control of UK borders. Ports and airports in GB are much easier to enforce than the hundreds of miles of land border between Ireland and the UK.

  • Neville Bagnall

    If there is a FTA it will contain regulatory alignment. It’s the only way a hard border will be avoided. FTA’s are about removing tariff and non-tariff barriers. The non-tariff barriers are lack of regulatory alignment.

  • Neville Bagnall

    But it does include cross-border executive institutions with joint oversight enforcing a set of common/non-diverging/aligned (your choice) regulations. Largely EU regulations.

  • John

    More non-productive, wealth destroying parasites or civil servants or public sector employees.

  • Food First

    I was taught to call a spade a spade usual rubbish which means all things to all men

  • murdockp

    Republic well served by the EU

    They were hung out to dry in 2008 when the bank’s went under.. Just look at the national debt and resulting poverty it caused.

  • NotNowJohnny

    What’s the problem then? What’s all this about the Irish border? Why are unionists putting forward amendments in the House of Commons to amend the brexit bill to ensure compliance with the Belfast agreement? Why is the PM working so hard to ensure a deal is done to protect the north south relationships enshrined in the GFA? Where did those 142 areas of north south co-operation that needed protection come from? Tell me, what are they (and me) missing here?

  • Jess McAnerney

    Fianna Fail caused the debt problems, not the EU
    The reason Ireland recovered so well is down to the support and guidance from the EU, however tough it was go through, it is paying off now

  • Jess McAnerney

    No one is bossing Dublin around
    Leo made it quite clear, the deal was done, if the UK need to have the xmas holidays to get back to that point so be it
    The problem is between them and the DUP but phase 2 wont start until the text meets the requirements outlined and guarantees the GFA is met in full

  • Rapparee

    Yes, its all a bit too complicated for the Brexiteers to comprehend I`m afraid. These lads are just whistling past the graveyard at this stage.
    The British have admitted they have absolutely nothing done in preparation for Brexit. Its beyond a joke at this junction, soft Brexit is the only option for the UK, with the Tories tearing themselves apart.
    Well deserved I think.

  • Rapparee

    But our flutes were the first to guarantee the banks in full, complete folly.

  • the keep

    Ezcept there was Jess it might have wrecked our economy.

  • the keep

    God a sinner backing up a FG govt sure SF should just disband now.

  • Nevin

    It seems that the EU has been putting the squeeze on funding to UK university projects despite UK government pledges:

    https://twitter.com/DPhinnemore/status/937619712258854913

    Labour said that the UK’s share of funding from Horizon 2020 had fallen by more than £100m in the year to September and that the party had been contacted by vice-chancellors with concerns. They asked for their comments to remain anonymous.

  • mac tire

    Most people in Ireland are backing the FG government on this. In fact, throughout the whole of the island it is only the Unionist parties and a few fringe groups that aren’t.

  • Aurozeno

    I think Ireland and the EU wish you well with your brexit experience , enjoy . All we want sorted is that a farmer in the south cannot buy EU banned insecticides to spray crops in Ireland intended for EU distribution when UK de-regulation occurs , thereby threatening Irelands EU inclusion .We do not want Mrs Murphy popping over to that nice butcher in Belcoo to buy hormone impregnated beef for Mr Murphy’s tea , and her sitting there during tea wondering how Mr Murphy’s boobs are now bigger than hers , or his allergy to penicillin kicking in due to routine antibiotic injections given to the same beef . WE do not want swimming pool smelling chicken cutlets sold cheaply here in the south from the backdoor of vans in markets across Ireland , WE do not want non regulated medicines (Mrs Murphy was told it was legal in Venezuela) crossing the border , We do not want clothes made in sweatshops , shoes made by 9 year old kids ….. the list is endless , and this will happen if we have a de-regulated neighbour , everyone on this Island knows the border is impossible to enforce , we have to protect our people and our animals .

  • Rapparee

    I`m afraid your wrong, its just plain old British incompetence that is derailing the whole thing. How else can you explain the lack of planning and forethought for such a venture, 18 mths into the process.

  • Jess McAnerney

    Brexit might wreck our economy and that has not changed
    All that was asked for was a guarantee that in the worst case, the NI economy and the GFA would be protected
    That guarantee in itself changes nothing, out future is still at risk

  • Jess McAnerney

    credit where credit is due

  • Rapparee

    Lesser of two wevils, an all that.

    An old navy joke, or so I`m told.

  • Rapparee

    What you think yourself?

  • Neville Bagnall

    Tim Geithner had a little something to do with it too.
    Also, while I can’t find a definitive link for it, I’m fairly confident that more than half the debt burden has nothing to do with the bank bailout. It is down to the collapse in tax revenue and resulting budget deficit.

  • Reader

    1729: NI’s very existence is endangered by a poor Brexit, so why should Dublin bother letting itself be bossed around if it less to lose?
    I’m not talking about Dublin being bossed around. I’m talking about Dublin not shooting itself in the foot. Whether there is an east-west border or a north-south border, and whether Northern Ireland even exists – the next paragraph applies:
    If the UK leaves the Customs Union, as seems likely, then every political and economic consideration would lead Dublin to want the UK to have the closest possible economic relations with the EU. And unlike Romania and the Visegrad states, for Ireland free movement of people is guaranteed – so it’s all about the trade.
    It is conceivable that nordie nationalist fanatics might think a decade or two of pain and friction would be worth it for an enhanced chance of a UI down the road. It seems highly unlikely that the rest of the country would agree.

  • Reader

    JoeCro: Brexit is about taking control of UK borders. Ports and airports in GB are much easier to enforce than the hundreds of miles of land border between Ireland and the UK.
    But that’s true now. Problem is solved, now and in the future, by the Common Travel Area. Which is why there were migrant camps in Calais and not in Dundalk.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh right, and the DUP’s sharpness has saw them bring ZERO ideas to the table. Gather round children and let’s applaud the DUP jumping on a Brexit bandwagon and getting choked under the wheel.

    By the way, it’s a withdrawal agreement, quit the paranoia about the EU and ROI, this is meant to be a temporary measure until some things get sorted out.

    May I remind you what the Brexiteers who promised you a world of fantastic deals have delivered so far…

    A mess.

    Typical Brexit approach, problem too hard then avoid tackling it.

    Let’s be clear the DUP rejected the UK-Irish agreement, not the EU-ROI agreement, the UK-Irish agreement.

    This is an inner crisis for your Union boys!

    We can spend 10 more months of the DUP dead-weights rejecting any solution that makes them feel uncomfortable, until eventually they are blamed for a final deal that will make them feel uncomfortable.

    To think these people said We’d be “Better Off Out” … Not with their help we won’t!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “No reference to the EU”?

    Significant portions of the Belfast Agreement refer to the EU and will need to be re-written. Your obviously have not checked the actual text of the Agreement itself. While you have your new reading glasses on might also be worth reading the briefing document for members of the European Parliament which clearly Describes this in detail.

  • runnymede

    Yes, painful to state the obvious to these people, isn’t it,,,

  • runnymede

    There are many kinds of FTA – very few involve comprehensive regulatory alignment.

  • Damien Mullan

    The Troika programme, was largely designed by Brian Lenihan, in the months that preceded their arrival. Indeed, two-thirds of the fiscal adjustment actually occurred during Lenihan’s tenure, thus prior to the Troika programme, which basically rubber stamped Lenihan’s already well designed plans to closing the remaining one-third.

    This was needed, not because of the Euro, but because revenue that had been swelling into the public coffers the preceding 5 years, from one-off transitions accrued from stamp duty, were spent on current expenditure, on increases in numbers, salaries, pensions, and welfare from the public purse.

    This adjustment would have had to have been made regardless of Ireland using the Euro, or just as ridiculously, it’s adoption of the metric system. Housing booms and busts are not unfamiliar outside of the Eurozone, there have occurred in countries around the world and with every complexion of currency.

    Lets be clear about some of the commentary coming from certain sections in the British commentariat, whose overriding concern is not for Ireland or its interests, but of driving a wedge between Ireland and the EU institutions and its other members states. While some can speak about the austerity years it must almost be stated that the EU provided the vast majority of funds necessary for Ireland to weather the multiple storms set off by the global finical crisis of 2008, massively exacerbated by domestic policy failings that left housing policy to private interests in its entirety.

    Now the methodology of those who advocate a divide and conquer strategy in these negotiations, from the UK side, is two fold. The first, is to convince the Irish they are hard done by the EU, and that the other EU26 cannot possible reflect in their solidarity the genuine interests the Irish have within and across these islands. The second, is to suggest and argue to the EU26, that Ireland is horsing historical grievances and unity aspirations upon the negotiating table, ahead of their anxiousness to conclude citizens and trade understandings with the UK. That is a divide and conquer strategy. It is well understood, both in Ireland and across the EU. It is the product of an imperial mindset, of those with delusions of grandeur. And it will fail.

  • Damien Mullan

    Equivalence? but then the FTA will unlikely be comprehensive.

    Also, remember the EU has already stated they will not partake in a sectoral agreement with the UK. They don’t want a repeat of the Swiss model. Maybe for NI, but not for the whole of the UK. And that won’t fly in Scotland and Wales, so it’ll be UK wide, that being so, the EU will not countenance a sector by sector approach.

    So by a process of elimination, and taking as fact, the British governments own stated desire for the most ambitious FTA possible, then alignment or tight equivalence looks a definite.

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: Significant portions of the Belfast Agreement refer to the EU and will need to be re-written. Your obviously have not checked the actual text of the Agreement itself.
    I had a look in the GFA for that term a few months back. I found two references, both of them just wibble.

  • Damien Mullan

    “And unlike Romania and the Visegrad states, for Ireland free movement of people is guaranteed – so it’s all about the trade.”

    Not so, EU have to give assent to continuation of Common Travel Area. Have you not been listening to the news lately, when they say ‘progress made on CTA’.

  • Reader

    Damien Mullan: Have you not been listening to the news lately, when the say ‘progress made on CTA’.
    By “lately”, you mean three months ago. Haven’t you noticed everyone has moved on since then?
    Anyway – Ireland wants to keep the CTA, and the EU does everything Ireland desires (that’s the rule, isn’t it?)

  • epg_ie

    “an EU that is still reeling from our brilliant Brexit sucker-punch ”
    marrant. That’s European for funny btw Brendan. Mr O’Neill, IIRC, was a Revolutionary Communist, then a pro-GM techno utopian, and is now a neo-reactionary Brexiteer. Such people do not realise that there is no challenge in convincing yourself of whatever daft beliefs you choose. The challenge is convincing others, and first you have to decide if Brexit is a brilliant fortress or a vulnerable flower endangered by cads.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The entirety of the DUP/Brexiteer plan was on the Republic of Ireland and the EU to take all the risk, and have none of the choices in that.

  • Damien Mullan

    It’s a combination of both, the rules and membership. Ireland’s continued membership gives it precedence over the UK as regards the EU. But it must be par the rules, i.e. the rules that would emerge from an agreement. But with a ‘no deal’ then the EU will fall back on the rules as they are, which will not be compatible with the CTA in a scenario when one of those countries is now outside the EU. That’s the death of the CTA, the likely folding of Ireland into the Schengen Area and the consequent erection of immigration controls along a 310 mile border.

    That’s hard border territory. That would necessitate Nationalism withdrawal from the devolved institutions permanently, effectively the end of the GFA. Then we are into unknown territory.

  • JoeCro

    There won’t be a Common Travel area with hard Brexit. A Calais type jungle could well spring up around Irish/NI ports

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hello reader, you have obviously not understood the role that joint membership of the EU plays in how the agreement functions. It’s worth reading through the briefing document for members of the European Parliament were the issues covered in ways even a Brexit Unionist may understand

  • ZENO2

    I thought Mick was the only one allowed to quote Emerson on Slugger 🙂

  • ZENO2

    Great article Pete – I particularly like how you selectively picked 3 people who will annoy the remoaners and republicans 🙂

  • Kevin Breslin

    That’s an issue for the moderators.

  • FOARP

    “There was no threat to east west trade with NI.”

    There would be if there was regulatory equivalence North-South but not East-West.

  • Jess McAnerney

    How would there be?
    The EU could not impose east west tariffs and accepted that
    Mrs May said she would not impose any, so therefore there was never any threat
    Probably why she was taken back that the DUP would bring her down over something so idiotic, self harming and purely political

    There would have been no change to NIs constitutional status within the UK, only that other parts of the UK would not receive the same treatment which is right as they wont be EU citizens post brexit, we will

    The DUP have hurt everyone in NI economically for selfish policial interests to prevent preferential treatment in one part of the UK over others

  • Sean Danaher

    Indeed Damien. This inept attempt to divide Ireland from the EU26 is having the opposite effect. Support for the EU has gone up from from an already very strong 83% just after the Brexit referendum to just short of 90%. Not only that, it reduces good will and trust. Its a real shame as prior to Brexit relations between Britain and Ireland were at their best for hundreds of years. The self aggrandisement of the importance of the UK loan which was a small part of this process is evident (and completely in their own interest as the UK retail banks had considerable exposure in Ireland) is typical of this mindset. This has grown in the imperialist mind to Britain bailing Ireland out single handed.

  • Croiteir

    No – the reason why it recovered so well so quickly was the economy away from construction and building was very robust and they traded their way out

  • Kevin Breslin

    Dublin hasn’t shot itself in the foot. It’s exercising the mandate given to it by its Parliament.

    In the end it may take some sort of UK/EU Customs Zone with agreed rules on some things, and divergence on others.

    It’s not the Customs Union that gives people from Romania and the Visegrad states, freedom of movement. That is about trade.

    It’s the Common/Single Market.

    The Same Single Market the UK wants to benefit from, but in effect has become a “Western Warsaw Pact” state itself by trying to border itself off from commonality in Europe.

    What we cannot have is a WTO built in the Brexiteers own image … that’s completely undemocratic, underserving, indecisive and an affront to global traders and the sovereignty of nations.

  • Damien Mullan

    Spot on Sean.

    An implosion of the Irish economy would have rendered Ulster Bank (ROI) loan book worthless, and instead of writing it down, RBS as the parent company, would have been forced to write that whole loan book off. With the consequence that RBS would have been knocking on the Treasury’s door for more state funding, arguably many more billions than the few billion the UK loaned Ireland. It was either take a bath on RBS losses and share the pain with the taxpayer, or loan Ireland a few billion, with interest.