Wednesday 19 September 2018

Absolutism on Border risks hardest of Brexits - and last laugh for Rees-Mogg

The aim of no changes on this island looks unachievable. So what about the Swiss option, asks Dan O'Brien

Leave means leave: Arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg with his mother, Lady Gillian Rees-Mogg. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Leave means leave: Arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg with his mother, Lady Gillian Rees-Mogg. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

In exactly one year from now there may be no flights between Ireland and Britain. As the 21st anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement approaches, the Border on this island could be in turmoil as the Government scrambles to meet its commitments to maintaining what will have become overnight an EU external border.

That scenario could come to pass if Britain leaves the EU on March 29 next without any exit deal. Given the way Brexit talks have gone over the past year, it is not at all improbable that they will break down over the course of this year.

Such an outcome would be the worst possible scenario for Ireland. If it were to come about, or be perceived to have come about, because the Government has taken an excessively inflexible position on the Irish Border, it would be even worse. Ireland would burn through a considerable amount of political capital with other EU countries - and the damage to Ireland- Britain relations would be incalculable.

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