Thursday 29 September 2016

Loss of UK markets after Brexit will hurt EU exporters

Published 28/07/2016 | 02:30

New British PM Theresa May is in no hurry to trigger Brexit negotiations. Photo: AFP/Getty
New British PM Theresa May is in no hurry to trigger Brexit negotiations. Photo: AFP/Getty

Most of the commentators about Brexit have concentrated on the damage it may do to the UK. Little comment has been made about the damage that the loss of the UK markets will inflict on the EU.

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We should remember the classic political sitcom 'Yes, Minister', and wily civil servant Sir Humphrey's lecture to the minister: "We have tried to have a disunited Europe for the last 500 years from the outside; now that we are in we will make a pig's breakfast of the whole thing."

New British Prime Minister Theresa May is in no hurry to start the ball rolling. I bet, as Sir Humphrey also said, that, "The Foreign Office will be terribly pleased, it will be just like old times."

The marketing people in the major European exporting countries won't experience the same joy. German experts will be wondering where they will find markets for their exports of €92bn. The same goes for the Netherland's €46bn, France's €41bn, Italy's €24bn, Spain's €20bn and of, course, our own country's €18bn of current exports to the UK. The UK is also the biggest European tourist 'exporter', representing 22pc of all tourist bed nights.

I am sure that the European market experts will have a tough job working out the number of Porsche, BMW and Mercedes cars as well as the number of cases of Champagne and Italian fashion items that Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland can absorb.

China's market for luxury goods is contracting, and as a result of Russia's escapade in the Ukraine the EU has imposed a trade. embargo on exports to Russia. The worst nightmare might still happen: should he win the US presidency, Donald Trump might succeed in reigniting Detroit as the world's leading car manufacturing city.

It is very likely that the UK's demand for restrictions of some sort on border control will be acceptable to the European exporting countries - indeed, with the emergence of 'home-grown terrorists', all countries will probably look favourably on border controls for the entire EU.

Hugh Duffy
Cleggan, Co Galway

Mollycoddling our children

Recently, there have been a number of awards made for damages relating to accidents children have had while at crèches.

In my view, this is what is wrong with our society. Over-protecting our children, mollycoddling and wrapping them up in cotton wool, all serves to damage our children in the future.

Children will not know how to deal with accidents, will not know how to deal with pain and, ultimately, will not take responsibility for their actions.

We're sending the message that if you fall over as a child, it's not your fault, it's because of someone else. It's because someone did not do their job as a parent, as a childminder, as a Montessori practitioner, or as a teacher. It is not the fault of the child, who went exploring and fell off the swing, or tripped in the yard.

If we are setting this example to our children that we are not responsible for our actions, will they take responsibility when they are older?

Another point such cases highlight is our unwillingness to allow our children to explore. I'm in my early 20s and I grew up on a farm. I played in trees, fell off walls and banks, fell into streams and so on.

I have scars on my knees from the times I tripped while playing chase. I don't blame my parents for allowing me to have a childhood, for allowing me explore and get dirty.

These accidents taught me the limits of the areas I played in and what is and is not safe to play around. These experiences cannot be taught by parents or by teachers, instead we must allow our children to explore and experience life for themselves.

I believe that we as a society are neglecting our children. Neglect, in that we are not allowing our children the freedom to explore.

Yes, they should be monitored in terms of where they are playing and whether it is safe or not, but how are children going to learn that a fall is OK? That a cry to show pain is OK? That the trip or the fall is not the fault of anyone but an accident that can happen to anyone?

My final point is this: a financial settlement is not going to bring any good to our children's education in life.

Let our children have a life, and play in a tree, or let them fall without putting the blame on someone else. If they get a scar, well then, it's a battle scar, it's a scar of life, it proves they had a childhood without regrets about not sitting on that wall or climbing that branch that's three foot off the ground.

I have no regrets about my childhood because I had one that left me filled with memories and stories that one day I hope to tell my grandchildren.

Michelle Walsh
Ballina, Co Mayo

Responding to terror threats

While Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O'Gorman (Irish Independent, July 25) clearly means well, these are truly extraordinary times.

The suspected Isil recruiter recently deported was many years ago given the benefit of our relatively peaceful, pluralistic society, a chance to make a good life for himself.

Instead, he chose to join an organisation which has declared war on us and, according to it, intends to destroy Western society. An organisation which is enslaving and slaughtering people, including Irish people, in the most barbaric ways.

Any jihadist facing deportation can spin the same line about possible torture, whether it is true or not. This can be used to deter any Western government from deporting terrorists.

So should we have tried and then imprisoned the alleged Isil recruiter here, knowing that prisons often prove to be fertile grounds for further radicalisation? Should we have kept him in solitary confinement indefinitely to prevent this? No doubt that would also be against his human rights. And, if he had served his time, what then? We still couldn't deport him. So would we have to monitor him?

On Tuesday morning, a French jihadist who was electronically tagged was involved in slitting the throat of a priest in France. This is where the slippery slope to moral paralysis and inaction can lead. Any government has not just a right, but a responsibility to protect its own citizens against such threats. No one I have spoken to thinks our Government made the wrong decision.

Paul Corcoran
Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh

It seems the 'Summer of Hate' gets darker with every passing day in Europe as one atrocity surpasses the next for callousness. Undermining people's sense of safety and security is the goal of those blinded by fundamentalism. The goal for the rest of us must be not to surrender to their aim of polarising and dividing us. Europe must stand together and face these threats in a united and coordinated way, pooling intelligence and resources.

Gerrard Thomas
Killiney, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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