Saturday 19 October 2019

'Ireland owes the UK nothing' - US novelist Bonnie Greer tells BBC audience in heated Brexit debate

American novelist and political commentator Bonnie Greer has warned the UK that they cannot ‘shaft’ Ireland if they want a post-Brexit trade agreement with the United States.
American novelist and political commentator Bonnie Greer has warned the UK that they cannot ‘shaft’ Ireland if they want a post-Brexit trade agreement with the United States.

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

American novelist Bonnie Greer has warned the UK that they cannot ‘shaft’ Ireland if they want a post-Brexit trade agreement with the United States.

Speaking on BBC's Question Time on Thursday, Ms Greer aired her issues with some attitudes towards Ireland as Brexit looms.

"Often at times, I hear people talking as if this country (UK) owns Ireland," she said.

"Ireland owes this country nothing. Ireland owes this country no concessions, it owes it no quarter, it owes it nothing," she added.

The panel were discussing potential trade deals between the UK and the US following Britain's departure from the EU, which is scheduled to happen at the end of this month.

Ms Greer, a columnist for the New European newspaper, said the potential deal, which would effect Irish trade, would not float in the US where "people are very serious about Ireland".

"The Good Friday Agreement is a truce because the United State of America and the EU sat down with these countries to make it happen.

"We have to be more serious about this. The United States is Irish. Anybody thinks that they're going to get a deal through and have a trade relationship with the US that shafts Ireland, you've got another thing coming. It's not going to happen.

"I'm from Chicago, that's where I was born. Do you know what we do on St Patrick's Day? We dye the river green. People are very serious about Ireland in the US. Don't mess with it. Don't make it look bad."

Also on the show, Ms Greer shot down an audience member who berated her for suggesting that "it is bad being a foreigner in this country right now" while she discussed "racially motivated" attacks on Meghan Markle.

Ms Greer, told the story of a Polish friend of hers who feels that she cannot speak her native language in public for fear of being attacked.

"I have a friend who is Polish, she's lived here since about 2000. Her little girl was born here and she doesn't speak Polish to her anymore on the bus or the Tube because people abuse her," she said.

The man in the audience repeated that he disagreed with Ms Greer, to which she replied: "I said right now it's hard to be a foreigner in this country. You're not, I am and I know what it's about.

"She can't speak Polish to her daughter in public because she's maligned and hassled. That's why she doesn't do it. Her daughter's losing her maternal language because her mother isn't speaking Polish to her anymore in public."

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