Sunday 22 April 2018

With a hard Brexit looming, Scottish nationalists could yet offer Ireland a fortuitous solution

Theresa May. Photo: AP
Theresa May. Photo: AP

Niall Holohan

The die is cast and Article 50 has been triggered. British Prime Minister Theresa May says there is now no turning back and has astonishingly declared her willingness to leave both the EU single market and even the customs union.

At the same time, she has stated that Britain's relationship with Ireland can be stronger after Brexit than ever before and has promised furthermore that no harm will be done to the Northern Ireland peace process. While I have no doubt that she is sincere in her stated desire to do what is best for the island of Ireland, the most charitable interpretation one can put on her attitude is that she is living on a different planet (also known as Cloud Cuckoo Land).

Given the new situation which Mrs May has created, the only way to avoid a hard Border between north and south on this island is for Northern Ireland to be granted a special status allowing it to remain within the single market or - at the very least - within the customs union. Yet the British prime minister has already been very clear in ruling out such an eventuality for Northern Ireland or for any other constituent part of the UK.

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