Fraught Anglo-Irish relations are about to get tenser

18 Feb

Leo Varadkar was attacked by some Brexiters for ‘anti-British’ rhetoric. Patrick Holden (University of Plymouth) finds that Varadkar’s language was no more emotional than that of his predecessor, Enda Kenny, though he was more outspoken about the contradictions of the British position. If Sinn Féin now enter the Irish government, Anglo-Irish tensions may continue to rise. … Continued

The Irish Government now ought to prioritise securing a swift UK-EU Free Trade Agreement

9 Jan

Following the expected ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by the new Parliament in London and the European Parliament, almost immediately the issue of the longer-term trade and economic relationship will come into focus. The issues, which dogged the withdrawal discussions, will again re-emerge. This is especially true in relation to the Irish border. It is […]

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How Boris Johnson helped change Leo Varadkar’s attitude to Brexit

16 Dec

People, not policies, win elections, and last week’s general election in the UK was no different. Boris Johnson’s clear message won over the British electorate, allowing him to win a majority at Westminster. With this majority comes cause for celebration on both sides of the Irish Sea. This was evident from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s coast-to-coast […]

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Why the Irish Taoiseach has a vested interest in keeping the UK locked into EU economic structures

14 Oct

The Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has played a strong hand in the Brexit negotiations, bringing in both the Good Friday Agreement and any possible border friction, real or imagined, to try to keep the UK locked into the EU’s economic structure throughout any transition period and then in perpetuity through a future UK/EU Free Trade […]

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Next week’s Canadian election could deal the UK a new post-Brexit ally

13 Oct

There are only a few more days of campaigning left in the Canadian general election, with a strictly managed campaign period of 36 days culminating next Monday with the country going to the polls. This might seem a far distance from Brexit, where deadlock and delays have led to a seemingly never-ending saga. However, with […]

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Can Boris Johnson get us out of the EU before a general election?

11 Oct

Never have we had such uncertainty surrounding our Government and Parliament, so much so that we literally have very little idea what is going to happen. Boris Johnson has said many times that we will leave the EU on 31st October whatever happens, with or without an Agreement. Yet how can he possibly pull it […]

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Bonnie Greer’s intervention on Brexit and Ireland last week was spectacularly ill-judged

5 Oct

It’s hard to be surprised by anything surrounding Brexit these days, but sure enough the BBC did their best last week. This time it was the turn of playwright Bonnie Greer to weigh in on the debate as a panellist on this week’s edition of Question Time. What followed was fitting of an Alanis Morrisette […]

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It’s time for some statesmanship from Leo Varadkar

3 Oct

The path to a negotiated Brexit deal is now broadly dependent on the statesmanship of one man. The Prime Minister’s letter to the EU with a new Brexit offer has landed well in the UK with the support of the DUP, the ERG, Remain-supporting Tories, an important number of Labour MPs, even possibly some Liberal […]

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Some special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland are likely – but the backstop was always a questionable solution

30 Sep

Is there an alternative to the Irish backstop? Even before the Withdrawal Agreement was finalised last year this question has been central to the Brexit debate. The EU and the Irish Government have insisted on the backstop as a guarantee of maintaining an open border in Ireland. Although they have pledged to look at alternative […]

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Brexit blues take over again as confusion reigns

21 Sep

Confused? Join the club which I believe includes the principals, the British and Irish governments and the EU.  The idea of “non-papers”  from the UK government expresses the confusion perfectly. Do they mean what they say or not?  Are they the last word in the last ditch or feints in a game ? We last left off on an upward note when Foster met Varadkar. The direction of travel seemed to be towards NI as a special economic zone between … Read more

Arlene Foster and Leo Varadkar must do business together on Brexit after last night’s ice breaker

19 Sep

The most important thing that Arlene Foster has just done is to talk to Leo Varadkar for the first time in ages. This was a meeting that was apparently kept under wraps until it had happened.  Only a short time before, the Dublin government were saying they were hoping for as meeting “soon.” This brief encounter at last opens up the possibility of genuine north-south cooperation to help hammer out an agreement on the border – and perhaps the Assembly … Read more

In Dublin, Boris Johnson declares the UK could get through No Deal, but it would be “a failure of statecraft”

9 Sep

Below is the text of the statement Boris Johnson just delivered in Dublin alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, a video of which can be found here or at the bottom of the text. It is wonderful to be here. And I thank you very much for the warm welcome you’ve given us. You and I first […]

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Cabinet ministers demand Plan B, The Times reports. And it may include Northern Ireland staying in alignment with the EU if GB diverges

7 Sep

The Times reports: Boris Johnson was under pressure from cabinet ministers last night to abandon his Brexit strategy and “come up with a plan B” after opposition parties pledged to veto any bid for a general election before he asks the EU for an extension On a chaotic day it emerged that: Rebel Tories expelled from the party by Mr Johnson have struck a deal behind his back with European leaders to secure a three-month Brexit extension. The group, which also includes … Read more

“Die in a ditch?” It could come to that. And Ireland hunkers down for a new border

6 Sep

As long as 24 hours ago, Boris Johnson seemed to have the edge in a deadly struggle with the new anti No Deal Commons majority. But with a Tory backlash mounting over sacking of  21 senior rebels and the influence of Dominic Cummings;  and with Tory traditionalist  MP resignations coming thick and fast led by brother Jo, I’m no longer so sure. Squeezed by the new majority, Johnson  looked to be buckling under the pressure at his dire appearance at … Read more

Boris Johnson’s appointment should prompt Leo Varadkar to reset the Irish Government’s Brexit stance

26 Jul

Last weekend Northern Ireland played host to the British Open for the first time since 1948. Irishman Shane Lowry won emphatically and as the week rolled on, the congratulations continued to roll in for the Offaly man. Naturally our media-savvy Taoiseach was quick with the praise and, as so often is the case, what was […]

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