Sunday 4 December 2016

Britain is looking after its own interests, now we must do the same

If handled well, Brexit could be the greatest opportunity for Ireland since 1922, writes Gay Mitchell

Gay Mitchell

Published 26/06/2016 | 02:30

No more cosy chats: British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, left, talks with Finance Minister Michael Noonan during the EU finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Photo: AP
No more cosy chats: British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, left, talks with Finance Minister Michael Noonan during the EU finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Photo: AP

After June 2019 there will no longer be a British EU commissioner, and no British presence at the Council of Ministers, including the European Council, or at the pre-council meetings of ministers and heads of governments. The 73 British MEPs will disappear, including the three Northern Ireland MEPs.

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Policywise, there will now be a gradual, negotiated agreement of withdrawal from the European Union for Britain.

The Republic of Ireland did everything possible to assist the Remain side but now our relationship with the UK is, in these forced circumstances, about to change. Our Government will be one of those the British will have to negotiate with. While we wish them well and will, of course, do all one can to assist with a smooth transition, the Government, the Oireachtas, and our MEPs must put Ireland's interests first.

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