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In a time of unprecedented crisis, 'special relationships' are being put to the test

Mark O'Connell


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Shake-up: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met last year. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM

Shake-up: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met last year. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM

Shake-up: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met last year. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM

Just when we thought things could not get any worse for globally- minded companies with protectionism, tit-for-tat tariff barriers and tough immigration policies all set against them, along comes Covid-19.

This pandemic respects no borders, ethnicities or political ideologies. Health experts insist that containment and cure will necessitate a joined-up and consistent global response, yet to date that has been sadly absent from the narrative.

As part of its EU exit mitigation, the UK government has prioritised a wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) with the US. Ireland-UK relations have been under some strain due to the unresolved border issue, while mainland Europe has been unsettled by the anti-European rhetoric driven by media and Brexit ideologues.