Wednesday 21 August 2019

Kevin Doyle: 'Why it's so vital we keep 'telling it like it is' as BoJo moves in'

 

Britain's Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith and Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney appear on BBC TV's The Andrew Marr Show in London. Photo: Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS
Britain's Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith and Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney appear on BBC TV's The Andrew Marr Show in London. Photo: Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A new chapter in the Brexit story will open this week as Theresa May hands over the keys of No 10 Downing Street.

May, who was generally liked in Dublin, suffered 'death by backstop'. Her government found the answer to the Irish question, only to discover that MPs in the House of Commons couldn't handle the truth. So the Conservative Party is set to put a man who has a very loose relationship with the truth in her place.

That's the reason why the Irish Government, with the blessing of its EU overlords, has embarked on a campaign of 'telling it like it is'.

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Tánaiste Simon Coveney was first out to bat over the weekend with a written piece in Murdoch's 'Sunday Times' and an appearance on BBC's 'Andrew Marr Show'.

It must be exhausting for the Cork TD who told television viewers he has done little except deal with the result of a UK referendum for the past three years.

His piece in the 'Sunday Times' broke no new ground. It would most likely have been rejected by an Irish newspaper editor as 'more of the same'. Yet the British choose to see an olive branch in the sentence: "The goal on our side remains a future relationship between the EU and the UK that makes the backstop unnecessary."

It was also reported that EU countries are secretly reaching out to Boris Johnson in a bid to stop a no-deal. Irish "bigwigs" have signalled a willingness to do business in talks with senior Johnson allies.

Back on the BBC, the presenter showed Coveney a graphic outlining how bad no deal will be for Ireland.

Readers with even a vague interest will be familiar with the statistics at this stage: a €6.5bn negative swing on the Exchequer, 55,000 fewer jobs and a 3pc drop in growth.

The British media and politicians, and indeed the DUP, love to highlight how damaging a no-deal Brexit will be for Ireland.

Yet when it comes to warnings about the impact on their own industries, jobs and economy they are dismissed by Johnson and others as 'gloom and negativity'.

And those on the 'mainland' appear to have forgotten altogether about who will be worst hit: Northern Ireland.

The application of tariffs and checks would be devastating for the six counties economically, even before you factor in the threat of smuggling and potential for dissidents to grow.

Mr Coveney said the prime minister might change but "the facts don't change around Brexit".

No doubt when he takes office Johnson will want to make a whistlestop tour of European capitals to Merkel, Macron and others.

It is vital now that the Irish Government embarks on its own diplomatic blitz to ensure the reality of a no-deal Brexit remains on the surface. EU solidarity will be more important than ever as Johnson won't allow the backstop to consume his premiership.

Irish Independent

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