Sunday 4 December 2016

Ireland needs its own minister for Brexit

Published 15/07/2016 | 02:30

Enda Kenny and Angela Merkel at their non-meeting of minds in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo: AP/Markus Schreiber
Enda Kenny and Angela Merkel at their non-meeting of minds in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo: AP/Markus Schreiber

The Brexit vote convulsed the British political establishment. On this side of the Irish Sea, the damage of its reverberations is still being assessed in dismay. Meanwhile, John Bull has dusted itself off, ready for the next battle. And it will be a battle. Stage two for Britain is about getting the best deal it can out of Brussels. To this end, in London there is already a new prime minister and cabinet. Let's not forget that it took us 70 days just to put a Government together.

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Chancellor Merkel has decreed that there will be no special deal for Ireland. We cannot take this lying down.

No other country will be hit as hard as this one by the British decision to decamp. In view of the scale of the risks, the case for the appointment of a specific minister to manage Brexit and fight for the Irish interest is overwhelming. In the short term, we must deal with the prospect of competing against a weaker sterling and a possible change in the status of the Border, affecting the peace process. The adverse impact on the economy for pensions and for businesses must also be contained.

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