Merkel's indifference a humiliating slap in face
Published 13/07/2016 | 02:30
Taoiseach Enda Kenny badly needed to come away with something more than the brush-off from his Berlin meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Not once but twice yesterday, Ms Merkel refused to make Ireland a 'special case' in the critical Brexit talks. The most powerful person in Europe steadfastly declined to give any 'guarantees' to Mr Kenny, saying that all concerns would be weighed in the context of the 27 remaining EU states. This is a major setback.
Ireland's case is unique and there can be no resiling from our insistence that there be no hard Border between North and South and that movement between Britain and Ireland must be fluid. Ms Merkel said: "We have to wait for Great Britain to take a stand and give us an idea of the type of relationship they are thinking about."
Britain has reconfigured and redefined its relationship with the EU and must therefore face the consequences.
Ireland has been nothing but loyal to the point of its own detriment. Therefore, to be told to take our place in the queue and wait until those at the top table decide what is best for us is something of a humiliation.
The security implications alone, and the fact that the Troubles have claimed more than 3,000 lives, ought to have been enough for Ms Merkel to recognise that Ireland's fears are different and the implications of a Brexit could literally be a matter of life and death, should the peace process be undermined. That is why her failure to recognise the urgent case for a 'special deal' is not only disappointing but actually irresponsible, given what is at stake not just for Ireland and Britain, but for the whole European Union.