Wednesday 25 April 2018

EU chief Donald Tusk says Brexit makes him ‘furious’ and reveals he’s a Conor McGregor fan

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk pictured during a press briefing at Government Buildings. Picture: Frank Mc Grath
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk pictured during a press briefing at Government Buildings. Picture: Frank Mc Grath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk during a press briefing at Government Buildings. Picture: Frank Mc Grath
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

EUROPEAN Council president Donald Tusk has said Brexit makes him “furious” and he reiterated the EU’s support for Ireland saying Irish issues will be at the centre of his attention in the “damage control process”.

Meanwhile, during a speech to students in UCD he also spoke of his love of Irish music, culture and sport adding that he’s “even a fan of Conor McGregor”.

Though he said he has “mixed feelings” about last week’s alleged incident in New York.

Mr Tusk was in the university this evening to receive an honorary life membership to UCD’s Law Society.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk during a press briefing at Government Buildings. Picture: Frank Mc Grath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk during a press briefing at Government Buildings. Picture: Frank Mc Grath

During a questions and answers session he said this year will be dominated by Brexit and what he termed the “damage control process”.

He said his main focus will be to eliminate or reduce the negative side of Brexit and Irish issues will be at the centre of his attention.

Earlier he said: “I don't like Brexit. Actually, that's an understatement: I believe Brexit is one of the saddest moments in twenty first-century European history.

“In fact, sometimes I am even furious about it.”

Mr Tusk also warned of “European entropy” “in the times of Brexit”.

He said: “We have many reasons to be satisfied, as a generation which has united Europe.

“But we have as many reasons for concern, as a generation that could still - unfortunately - make it to the gloomy and... spectacular show of another European disunion.”

He added: “Wherever I look, I can see this dangerous potential for conflict.”

He raised concerns about politics in his own country, Poland, the history of the Balkans, and the situation in Catalonia among other issues.

He said that on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland people are “looking with concern and anxiety to the future of the peace process after Brexit”

Mr Tusk said Europeans need to “find each other again” and “reunite”.

Mr Tusk repeated the words he used when he pledged EU support for Ireland last December saying: “ní neart go cur le chéile. There is no strength without unity.”

He began his speech introducing himself and speaking of his love of football and rugby.

He also said: “I am a fan of W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, U2 and Sinéad O'Connor (even if she did go a bit too far with John Paul the Second), Colin Farrell and Neil Jordan.”

Mr Tusk added: “I am even a fan of Conor McGregor, though I must say I have mixed feelings about his latest fight with a bus in New York.”

He also said: “I am as delighted with the poems of Seamus Heaney as I am with the drop goals of Jonathan Sexton.”

The former Polish prime minister said he was in the stadium in Gdańsk when Ireland lost to Spain during Euro 2012

He said he listened to the crowd singing The Fields of Anthenry despite the loss and added: “I thought to myself that no-one celebrates defeat as beautifully and as heartily as the Irish, and as the Poles.

“And history has given both of our countries quite a few opportunities for such celebrations,” he said.

He said that given the history of both countries “we should appreciate today's reality even more, both here on this island, and in my homeland on the Baltic coast.”

He said this is “a reality in which independence, prosperity, peace and reconciliation have ceased to be just entries in a dictionary of unreal dreams.”

Mr Tusk said it’s an “exciting time to be Irish” and added: “Meeting your young Taoiseach or watching the exploits of your rugby team, it is clear that something much more interesting is happening.”

He said there is a “new confidence” that’s not dependent on the opinions of others and told the students:  “Where Ireland goes from here is your free choice. It will be very interesting to see what you do with it. No pressure.”

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