Friday 28 April 2017

Brendan Keenan: Time to stop blaming Foster and boost Brexit co-operation

First Minister Arlene Foster and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings in Dublin to discuss Brexit
First Minister Arlene Foster and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings in Dublin to discuss Brexit
Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

JUST now, I feel a bit like the guinea-pig I recently wrote about in that experiment, faced with 19 people denying the blindingly obvious and wondering if he can possibly be right. I am talking, of course, about the Arlene Foster question.

Everyone in Dublin, including people whose opinions I respect, seems to think Mrs Foster has behaved badly on the Brexit question and the Irish Government has been let down. I take exactly the opposite view.

In normal circumstances, it would not matter much what the Irish Government, Mrs Foster, Sinn Féin or the Democratic Unionist Party say about each other. For more than 10 years, what they actually do has been commendably positive, however, circumstances now are anything but normal. Brexit, they call it. Just how abnormal Brexit is was made clear in last week's analysis of its impact prepared by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in conjunction with the Department of Finance.

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