We need 'Brexit minister' to oversee our response
Published 09/08/2016 | 02:30
The influential German think-tank Ifo is in no doubt that our economy has more to lose than any other - apart possibly from Britain itself - from so-called "Brexit-wounds".
In the UK, the cabinet is in bunker mode to guarantee that Britain gets the best deal it can. Here, concerns over the Common Travel Area, and the impact on the North have been well flagged; but the focus of this study, which was based upon consultations with experts here, is the possible financial fault-lines that Brexit exposes. They identify two fronts on which we are more vulnerable than anyone else.
Firstly, our unique trading relationship is clearly at risk.
Secondly, the longer uncertainty goes on regarding the UK's future interaction with the EU, the more foreign direct investment could be in jeopardy.
Clearly, it is in our interest to engage immediately with the UK in order to hammer out agreements. We simply do not have the luxury of waiting two years for Article 50, which sets out how a country can voluntarily leave the EU, to be triggered. We must also flex every diplomatic muscle and sinew we have in Brussels, to seek special exemptions to keep in step with the various measures the British are currently rushing through to shield themselves. In the wake of the Brexit decision, ratings agency Fitch also spelled out some pretty worrying possible implications for Ireland.
It too pointed out how exports could be hit. Given all this potential for dislocation and with so much at stake, the case for the appointment of a minister to oversee our response to Brexit is overwhelming.
Farewell to Bishop Daly, a man devoted to peace
Derry was a place of fear on Sunday, January 30, 1972. An anti-internment march organised by the civil rights movement was taking place. Although marching had been banned in the North since the previous August, when the marchers left the Cregan, they were said to be in good humour.
But when the crowd reached Free Derry Corner, a few youths apparently began throwing stones and soldiers of 1 Para opened fire. According to civil rights activist Eamon McCann, "the crowd flung themselves to the ground as the crack-crack of the self-loading rifles came from the bottom of Rossville Street. Looking up, one could see the last few stragglers coming running panic-stricken, bounding over the barricade outside the High Flats, three of them stiffening suddenly and crumpling to the ground."
Some 13 civilians died on the day, and another victim was to die later, but the image that has endured was that of a cautious but determined priest edging forward, waving a white hankie. Despite the gunfire, the then Fr Edward Daly persisted, as he attempted to assist a fatally injured teenager. The Derry curate went on to become Bishop of the city; and for the rest of his life, until he died yesterday, aged 82, he was devoted to making peace.
Throughout the Troubles, he continued to wave his white flag in one way or another, winning the admiration of all fair-minded people across the divide.
In a tribute to Dr Daly yesterday, President Michael D Higgins said that while he may be remembered for his compassionate and courageous actions during Bloody Sunday, this was just one episode in a life of service to his community. At a time when the reputation of the Church has never looked more fragile, its leaders would do well to follow in the footsteps of this humble leader.