So the talk of Article 16, is still just that, talk. Taoiseach Micheál is not one for dramatising a crisis, so his warning against going down such a precipitative route ought to get a hearing in London:
“We’ve been here before, negotiations are still underway, there is still engagement between the UK and the European Union – as I said in the Dáil last week and I stand over my comments, I think it would be reckless and irresponsible to trigger Article 16,” he said.
“But I do think and I believe all parties need to take on board the fundamental importance of the relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom and the relationship between the Irish government and the British government in terms of what has happened over the last 30 years working with the parties in Northern Ireland to transform the lives of the people of Northern Ireland and nothing should be done, in my view, unilaterally that would endanger that architecture.”
The survey from the University of Liverpool suggests the UK government has miscalculated public opinion in Northern Ireland. And besides in someways if you pull the trigger via in this way you don’t know whether you’re going to return to a weaker position.
It is suspected that the underlying threat is to threaten to draw the land border back in and say to the EU, you police it! But after teasing business with the prospect of ramping up business by offering dual access to two internal markets, that is an option that may only increase instability.
Something nobody wants or needs. Someone needs to sober up on these matters, and soon.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty