Monday 16 September 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Brexit could be real opportunity for the North, if it’s allowed to take it'

Stuck in the middle: British Prime Minister Theresa May at an EU meeting in Brussels yesterday. AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert
Stuck in the middle: British Prime Minister Theresa May at an EU meeting in Brussels yesterday. AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Yesterday's Irish Independent included an overdue realpolitik analysis by Dan O'Brien ('The backstop demand could end up bringing about that which it was designed to prevent').

He was right to reflect on the need for unpalatable compromise on the road to big changes, however, the bigger concession of the Downing Street Declaration to the ordinary law-abiding citizen of the North was self-determination.

Northern citizens can be Irish, British or European at the same time. Paternalist, or in many cases ignorant, actors are now limiting this constructive ambiguity without listening to those most affected.

This does not mean a grab for Ireland's fourth green field, but rather to give the North an opportunity to choose its own political and economic future. For all the chest-beating about symbols, traditions and victimhood, this is a chance for courage and political leadership that has been missing for nearly a generation.

A Northern Ireland that is politically British and economically European sounds like an amazing opportunity. An empowered assembly that has to live in the present could bridge the political divide, and certain Northern MPs or MLAs could hold a dual European mandate to give their people a voice.

'No deal' is the worst outcome for everyone. A new political border down the Irish Sea is almost as bad.

To paraphrase, England's misfortune is Northern Ireland's opportunity, if they could only be allowed to reach for it.

Dr Tony O'Donnell

The Curragh, Co Kildare


Brexiteers don't care who is hurt in quest for power

I truly despair that prehistoric, self-serving interests are still being exploited by politicians.

Arlene Foster says that Unionism in Northern Ireland has rightly stood against the Brexit withdrawal agreement. The former first minister of Northern Ireland should be acting in the interests of all the people in the six counties, not just her followers.

Foster's insistence that the backstop must be dropped, as is the insistence of all of the UK MP Brexiteers and too many of Theresa May's so-called supporters, is nonsensical. This will in no circumstances be agreed by the EU.

Which leads one to question - why do these people take this view? Foster, either because she is still living in 1921 or does not have the vision to guide the population of the six counties into a modern political reality.

Boris Johnson and his backstabbing colleagues seek to take personal advantage of the situation to become prime minister, irrespective of the disaster that will befall.

Let us not forget that Johnson and the other Conservative bigwigs are financially well-off and will not be personally affected by the downturn in a hard Brexit. By their absence of concern for the outcome of their political aspirations, they have unquestionably shown their contempt for the 95pc of the people of the UK who will suffer in order that one of their ilk becomes prime minister. But it will not be just the people of the UK who will suffer, it'll also be the people of Ireland.

I assure our Irish friends that many in the UK will continue to fight against an outcome that will precipitate a backward step to what we have achieved in last 20 years, and against the economic disaster that will lead to devastating consequences for so many of our people.

Harry Charalambou

London, UK


Pulling on green shirt? Don't make me laugh...

It's one thing for political parties in this country to show a total lack of respect for the general public's intelligence, as they often do, but surely that disrespect reached a new high when the coalition of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael announced a new Confidence and Supply Agreement for another year.

Yesterday on a radio station, FF's Dara Calleary went on to explain, "at this time of uncertainty, with the unknowns Brexit will bring, Fianna Fáil feels it is in the best interests of the country to renew this arrangement even at the expense of a possible hit from the grassroots support. We are pulling on the green shirt to maintain political stability".

All I can say is, if this decision was taken in the best interests of the country over the party, then it would be the first time in my 40 years of observing politics in Ireland that any political party did anything in the best interests of the country over the interests of the party.

Let's get real here - forget Brexit, with thousands of potential voters paying outrageous rents, homeless families languishing in hotel rooms because of the lack of private and social housing, not to mention the relatives of those families, all potential voters; neither FG nor FF will take a chance on who will gain or lose more votes to the other in a general election. So the best solution, in true Irish political fashion, is to do nothing and carry on with the status quo until next year when the housing shortage is expected to improve.

Then and only then can FG go to those voters and claim its policies worked and FF can go to the same voters and claim FG would not have been able to do this without the Confidence and Supply Arrangement it provided. The crucial thing for both is they can claim credit over the real opposition of Sinn Féin, Labour and Independents for any improvement in the situation.

Since the foundation of the State, the policies of all the political parties in this country and their ethos for handling the economy have been very much the same, resulting in several economic crashes under their stewardship. At no time did any within their number exhibit the intelligence or political will to change how things are done in this country, so please stop insulting us with claims of 'pulling on the green shirt'.

Anthony McGeough

Kingswood Heights, Dublin 24


This agreement lacks the confidence of the people

Have we ever had a coalition by another name, as in Confidence and Supply?

While this charade may not be lacking in supply, it is certainly lacking in the confidence of the people. They now insult our intelligence again by using Brexit for another year or more of the same, simply to ensure jobs and pensions for the boys as they bungle their way through the health and housing crisis. I despair for our country.

Philip Chambers

Address with editor

Irish Independent

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