Time To Think About Brexit From The Irish Perspective

January 29, 2019

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

I know we said we would never mention Brexit again on our website. But when did never ever mean never? And so it is with us, having spent this last weekend in Cork, Republic of Ireland, my husband and I have been constantly grilled about Brexit. I suppose the Irish cannot understand our desire to leave the EU but, more importantly, the knock on effects to them are not inconsiderable.

Try looking at Brexit from across the Irish Sea and you see it from an entirely different perspective – yes the Irish perspective!

The Irish backstop is the sticking point for them. I had to get my husband to explain the implications to me before we met with my Irish cousin for lunch. It is all about the hard border. The Irish cannot begin to consider going back to the time before the Good Friday agreement. If the UK government cannot solve this issue a hard customs border, policed by British customs officials and police, would be the order of the day.

Leaving the EU with no deal means the hard border would come into effect immediately. Leaving with Mrs. May’s deal would give the UK and Ireland two years to sort out the unsortable so the hard border would still be inevitable.

The Irish are a warm and hospitable race. Staying in Cork we have experienced their kind and caring personalities. Nothing is too much trouble. They want you to have a good time and enjoy their country. But the one issue they are united on is their total rejection of a hard border. However it is out of their hands and that is their frustration.

The leader of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, is encouraging a united Ireland. I am not sure that will ever happen but I can see her logic. It would mean Northern Ireland breaking away from the UK which is something that many Scots would be envious of.

So the Queen giving her sixpence worth to the jam-making women of Norfolk is no surprise. She has seen her Kingdom diminish in size throughout her lifetime and losing Northern Ireland and then possibly Scotland would be a bitter pill to swallow.

However this is not about one person or even one nation. This is about a decision that 37% of the U.K. voted for. The other 63% is made up of those that voted to remain and those that had the right to vote and did not do so for whatever reason. Maybe they were undecided, confused or disinterested. Whatever everyone voted and their reasons for doing so has brought us to this stand-off situation.

We are all fed up with the bickering amongst politicians, our own friends and the rest of of Europe. There is no right way out of this that will make everyone happy so we are just going to have to compromise, put our best foot forward and get on with it.

Our country has never been so divided. We need to come together but with this Parliament I am not sure that is even possible. It is like having a bad hand in a game of cards – we need to throw in all of our cards and get dealt a new hand.

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