Friday 18 October 2019

Editorial: 'It's not too late for 'idiocy' to yield to sense of reason'

'As Enda Kenny infamously put it when regaling a Washington audience, “Paddy likes to know”.' Photo: Steve Humphreys
'As Enda Kenny infamously put it when regaling a Washington audience, “Paddy likes to know”.' Photo: Steve Humphreys


In the darker days of the Troubles, Seamus Heaney wrote about "the voice of sanity getting hoarse". Whatever about sanity, we must at least demand a voice of clarity and truth at the 11th hour on Brexit.

For reasons only the Taoiseach can explain, he chose an American outlet, the Bloomberg news agency, to finally come clean about what we all knew: the prospect of a return of soldiers to the Border if Brexit goes badly wrong is real. A hard Border could result in both an army and police presence.

In recent weeks, there has been a haunting sense of impending threat harking back to a decade ago, when the air was thick with denials about the arrival of the Troika, and the subsequent surrendering of sovereignty.

Mr Varadkar should heed his predecessor's words. As Enda Kenny infamously put it when regaling a Washington audience, "Paddy likes to know".

There are enough Brexit fantasists about without our Government building its own dream-bank.

With each passing day another strand snaps in the fibres binding our hopes together that all will be well at Westminster.

At a time of real crisis we have better use for blunt truth than beguiling denial.

When this newspaper reported of plans to move gardaí to the Border in the event of a no-deal crash-out, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris dismissed the report as "entirely incorrect".

Within 24 hours, the Taoiseach was openly admitting the prospect is frighteningly close.

Next week the House of Commons will hold historic votes - the outcome of which may determine whether or not troops will return to our Border. To pretend otherwise is to deceive. A century ago this week, the first Dáil met with a view to asserting our independence. Taking stands and thinking for ourselves is something we are used to.

We must hope that the "delusional lunacy" or "monumental idiocy" as it has been described in Westminster, will eventually yield to some sense of reason.

It is not too late for the UK parliament to wrest back control and restore some kind of realism to the Brexit narrative, something Theresa May and her warring cabinet have abysmally failed to do.

Yet we daren't depend on it. It took thousands of deaths, heartbreak, and tortuous negotiations. Peace came at a terrible price but the Good Friday Agreement finally did away with borders.

They do not serve neighbours well. And no matter how the votes go on Tuesday, neighbours we must remain. It is in Britain's, Ireland's, and the EU's interest to lock on to the realities of what is unfolding. A disorderly Brexit is a grave national threat to both our security and our economy. It is that stark.

Irish Independent

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