Tuesday 15 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: EU is using Irish Border issue like a gun to the head to blackmail May

Worn out: British Prime Minister Theresa May looks devoid of negotiation skills. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Worn out: British Prime Minister Theresa May looks devoid of negotiation skills. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Two Brexit years on now and very little achieved, the UK resembles a funambulist on a high-wire in the wind without a safety net below.

Theresa May looks worn out and devoid of a modicum of strong negotiating skills, constantly flitting between Downing Street and Brussels, going cap in hand with her begging bowl representing the fifth most powerful country on the planet.

Mrs May appears to be forgetting her negotiating strengths. The UK is Germany's biggest car sales market. It imports more from the EU than it sells to it. The EU will ensure Brexit is a success after all this posturing by Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier, sanctioning the UK passing borders irrespective of where they are located, and a new trading deal.

One has to wonder how Margaret Thatcher would have reacted to all this bullying that Mrs May appears to acquiesce to so readily. Strong leadership is required here but is so sadly lacking by the prime minister.

How would the EU react to the UK eviction of Mercedes and Audi cars, French wine, Spanish fruits, Dutch flowers, in a UK reciprocal vendetta?

No one is interested in making top-class saddles and leather products here in Walsall for a horse that has already bolted. The salient fact is the EU needs the UK as much as the UK needs its trade and free borders.

Mrs May should adopt Trump's tactics of national pride and strengths. However obnoxious and disliked he is, he is securing trading results for the US. Mrs May is looking like an applicant for a job she never really wanted, now resembling someone totally inept, without a clue how to negotiate from a strong position.

The EU provides very lucrative positions for Mr Tusk and Mr Barnier, plus an army of EU ministers, many having no business antecedents and never having done a day's real work in their lives, now attracting six-figure salaries and free flights around Europe.

The key aspect they now zoom in on is the hoary Irish Border issue, 500km long, a porous line with more than 300 crossing points. The EU hard-Border demands now cast a long, dark, incendiary shadow over the Good Friday Agreement that has given Ireland an escape route from violence and murder that should never be revisited again. A Border matter now treated flippantly by the EU, via holding a gun to Mrs May's head as its last negotiating blackmail tool. The consequences of a hard Border are too serious to envisage.

Sooner or later, both parties will have to accept that disappointment is inevitable in any negotiation. Mrs May has to focus on a solid solution which is not intractable. In life, it's far better to be a mile from your destination and know where you are going, than to have arrived and be lost.

Michael Kelly

Kings Heath, Birmingham, England

Facts are just as bad as fiction on direct provision

What in God's name is the matter with this country? Do we ever learn? The opening scene of RTÉ's new Sunday night drama 'Taken Down' shows a boat out on the ocean packed with refugee asylum seekers. Next a scene where an agreement is made to a mother and her two sons to give them what is called 'direct provision'. This is a means of meeting their basic needs, while claims for refugee status are being processed.

Before the following scene, we read on the screen "eight years later". Then the drama unfolds, as we see the mother and her two sons all still living in the one room in this so-called 'direct provision'. Why not be up-front and call them what they are, 'concentration camps'?

This is fiction but the factual situation is every bit as stark, with 55pc of those in direct provision having been there five years or more. Shame on us.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

We may judge on Tuam - but what about abortions?

Katherine Zappone's concern for the Tuam babies who died 60-100 years ago is to be commended. She wants to exhume their remains, DNA-test them and try to connect them with relatives and give them a respectful burial.

This was a time when babies and children were dying of stillbirth and diseases such as measles, whooping cough, polio, pneumonia, etc, as there were no antibiotics available. It was also a time of great deprivation in Ireland generally, when many families were living in tenements. The nuns did their best and there is no point judging from today's perspective. If one keeps looking back, it deflects from what is happening today. Perhaps that is the idea.

In our affluent society, many families are homeless with no prospect of being housed in the future. Many use food banks to feed their children. Children wait years for operations. When future generations look back on what is happening today, without the excuse of lack of finance, it will not reflect well on the State and politicians. I would be interested to know what arrangements Ms Zappone is making for the burial of the remains of the babies who will be 'terminated' when the new abortion legislation is introduced. Surely they will not end up as hospital waste, as is the case in other countries.

Winifred Collins

Address with editor

Connolly's words are still apt in dispute over poppy

With November 11 marking the centenary of the Armistice at the end of the World War I, and in light of the controversy in regard to the wearing of the red poppy, it is worth recalling the speech of James Connolly, the Irish socialist, which he made in The Square in Tralee, in October 1915. When he addressed the crowd, he said the following against Ireland's involvement in the war in Europe: "I know that we in Ireland had never suffered one particular iota from any European power, but one… this war was not for Ireland, it was not for them no matter who wanted it. They stood for that section of the community who had fought the battles of the world and who had remained at the bottom no matter who was at the top. They would no longer accept the position of inferiority. They say not only are they part of the nation but they are the most useful part of it. No matter who sold Ireland in the past, the Irish working class never sold it, they always fought for it."

It should also be noted that Connolly's anti-war argument was supported by the local branches of British-based unions.

Kieran McNulty

Tralee, Co Kerry

Irish Independent

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