Thursday 27 July 2017

Surviving charge of 'the flight brigade'

'From an Irish perspective, instead of quaking anxiously, we must seize the moment to build and develop to enable those who will inevitably choose to decamp now that Britain is no longer a member of the EU'
'From an Irish perspective, instead of quaking anxiously, we must seize the moment to build and develop to enable those who will inevitably choose to decamp now that Britain is no longer a member of the EU'
Editorial

Editorial

Today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny sits down with other European leaders for what will be the most important meeting in a lengthy career. When President Obama served notice on the UK a couple of months ago, he spoke as bluntly as diplomacy allows to warn the British that they would go to the back of the queue in Europe, should they step over the precipice. The fact that they have done so opens up serious challenges, as well as unique possibilities, for Ireland.

Our larger neighbour's past difficulties have been seen as opportunities for this country, and with the right focus and leadership, could be so again. Of course, the risks are considerable. But the British decision to walk away from a market of more 500 million consumers creates unprecedented potential here for foreign direct investment. Yes, there are downsides. Mr Kenny must spell out that Ireland has more to lose than any other country in the EU from a disorderly Brexit. We have seen the billions wiped off the stock exchange as sterling plunges. But far graver still would be any threat to the common travel area between these islands; or any move towards the reintroduction of a patrolled Border. Either would be calamitous, as would be any new raid on our low corporation tax rate.

Mr Kenny has an onerous duty to insist that Ireland cannot countenance changes to the status quo. The special relationship between the UK and Ireland is unique.

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