Kevin Doyle: 'We either have a secret plan up our sleeves or our heads in sand'
A month ago, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told us a hard Border couldn't be avoided "through goodwill, political statements and wishful thinking".
It was a statement reheated and repeated days later by UK Prime Minister Theresa May as she desperately defended her Withdrawal Agreement to MPs.
But we now find ourselves careering towards the unknown, armed only with political statements and wishful thinking.
The contingency plans released by the Government this week note that, in every scenario, including no deal, the commitment "to preventing the re-emergence of a hard Border on the island of Ireland remains of the highest priority".
Comments from both Mr Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney over the past 48 hours have made it very clear that the principle of 'no return to the borders of the past' remains in a no-deal scenario. Yet no one has been able to put forward a logical way of turning that principle into a practice.
The European Commission has also made it clear there will have to be checks on animals and food at the point where they enter the EU from the UK. In other words, milk trucks crossing the Border will need to be cleared by customs officers.
It all suggests one of two things: either the Government has a secret deal up its sleeve for how to convince the EU to leave our Border wide open, or it has its head in the sand.
During the Brexit referendum, campaigners on the Leave side told voters they could exit the EU but still enjoy most of the benefits of membership. The past 18 months of a contentious negotiations show that is clearly not the case.
Now we are being led to believe that Brexit can take place without a Withdrawal Agreement and an open Border can be maintained.
But based on the rules of both the EU and the World Trade Organisation, this seems impossible.
Irish politicians and officials have done a masterful job of educating European leaders on the history of the six counties and why this Irish situation is unique.
Mr Varadkar is likely to propose a series of Border alternatives to the EU, such as carrying out checks away from the physical Border. Getting this across the line would require an unprecedented level of goodwill and bending of the rules linked to the single market.
Both the Irish and UK governments insist no planning has been done for physical infrastructure at any of the more than 300 crossing points. It's wishful thinking to suggest some form of infrastructure won't be needed.
Even if some sort of political solution is found, we then have to think about what would flow from that.
The simple reality is that if a hard Border can be avoided in a no-deal scenario, then the Brexiteers will correctly roar that the need for the backstop was a fallacy all along.