Tuesday 25 April 2017

We face a fork in the road in our relationship with the UK

'We cannot suddenly leave the EU much as we entered in 1973, on Britain’s coat-tails.'
'We cannot suddenly leave the EU much as we entered in 1973, on Britain’s coat-tails.'
John Downing

John Downing

YOU won't be unduly surprised to hear that former British prime minister Ted Heath had an "ink-bomb" dumped down the back of his neck as he arrived to sign the EEC treaty of accession back on January 22, 1972.

That same day, precisely 45 years ago yesterday, then-taoiseach Jack Lynch and foreign affairs minister Paddy Hillery also lined up in the elegant Palais d'Egmont in Brussels to sign in for Ireland. Happily, the only ink deployed in their cases was a tidy transfer from the flash fountain to the official treaty text before them.

The bizarre detail on the Heath "ink attack" was that the protester, an elegantly dressed English woman called Karen Cooper, had no problem, that we know of, about closer relations between Britain and mainland Europe. Her grievance was about plans to re-develop Covent Garden in London.

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