Sunday 17 December 2017

Study fails to see what a disaster 'Irexit' would be

Debating whether to leave the EU is healthy, but let's not rush after the UK. Multilateral deals bring too many benefits for Ireland

Neighbours: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the EU Council headquarters ahead of a European Council meeting in Brussels last month Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Neighbours: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the EU Council headquarters ahead of a European Council meeting in Brussels last month Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

The suggestion that Ireland should follow Britain out of the EU - "Irexit" - got quite some attention last week. Ray Bassett, a former diplomat, argued in a 42-page document published in London that Ireland should actively explore leaving the EU. His central contention is that the UK is more important to Ireland than the EU. In his judgement, choosing Britain over Europe is the best option for Ireland and its people.

He is right about considering every option but wrong in his conclusion.

Countries should always weigh up their options. In this regard Bassett is perfectly correct in raising the issue and exploring it. But when the costs and benefits of staying in the EU on the one hand, and throwing our lot in with London on the other, are all weighed up, there really isn't much of a choice to be made.

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