Brexit: how Ireland was used by EU to make Brexit as painful as possible for UK
There was always the strong belief that UK voters would vote to remain in the EU and without success, every effort was made by EU’s leaders, institutions and bureaucrats as well as by the pro-EU political establishment, at EU tax-payers expense, to unsure this outcome.
by Patricia McKenna*
Following the result of the Brexit referendum all efforts were then made to try and force the UK to vote again, but unlike the Republic of Ireland (Ireland), whose voters were forced to vote twice on two separate EU treaties, Nice and Lisbon, the UK public were not so easy to bully into voting again to give the EU the answer it desired. Brexit was going to happen.
With Ireland remaining in the EU post Brexit and Northern Ireland leaving as part of the UK a new dimension to the North-South Border emerged because EU laws and policies would prevail in the South but not in the North thus creating the potential for a new Partition of Ireland. The Irish Government in its shameless desire to please the EU, sought to use the pretext of avoiding a hard North-South Border in Ireland as an excuse for keeping the whole of the UK in the EU single market. As the bulk of EU supranational laws relate to implementing the single market, this would have amounted to a Brexit in name only. Having failed in that endeavour the EU - again with Dublin's support-the EU sought to keep Northern Ireland in the EU single market by means of the Northern Ireland Protocol. However, this time it seems Irish policy-makers because of their uncritical allegiance to the EU have helped create this partition to facilitate the desire by the EU to ensure that Brexit will not be a success and that no other EU member state will dare to follow the UK.
From an EU perspective, Brexit had to be made as difficult and painful as possible to ensure that no other EU Member State would consider following the UK. A successful Brexit would have sounded the death knell for the EU project.
Unfortunately, Ireland played a key role in the campaign to make Brexit as difficult and as unworkable as possible and refused to co-operate with the UK to find any solutions to the Irish border. The Irish border had become the golden ticket that would assist the EU in ensuring that Brexit would be as harsh, difficult, painful and as unworkable as possible for the UK. To the detriment of its own people, the Irish Government refused to help find workable solutions that would benefit Ireland and the UK on the border issue. The Irish Taoiseach/PM Leo Varadkar said “Ireland will not participate in any British plans to solve the post-Brexit border issue.” The much talked about Northern Ireland Protocol or backstop, an appendix to the Brexit withdrawal agreement, has been the end result of the EU efforts to survive and to send a strong deterrent to other potential EU Exits.
• Patricia McKenna, practicing Barrister and former vice-president of Greens in European Parliament.