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The Border: the view from Dublin September 8, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Reading ROI Ambassador Dan Mulhall’s contribution to The House of Lords Committee which is inquiring into the ‘impact on the relationship between the UK and Ireland’ following the Brexit referendum I couldn’t help but feel he was more optimistic in his reading that I would be.

For example, he stated:

“Even under a worst case scenario, that Britain decided to prevent all EU Citizens from coming to live and work in the UK, it seems to me that the Irish border doesn’t really pose a particular additional risk to Britain of the kind that would warrant trying to impose border controls on a border that doesn’t have any geographical basis very much, unlike borders in other parts of Europe,” Mr Mulhall said.

And he continues:

As long as Ireland remains outside of Schengen, people coming into Ireland need to go through passport control.
“Therefore, the only people that will have the right of free movement into Ireland, the right to live and work, will be European Union citizens. Of course, it’s true that an EU citizen could come to Ireland after Brexit, and then decide to go across the border into Northern Ireland and then into Britain.
“But they would be illegal immigrants, and most Europeans are not interested in being illegal in any European country.

And yet, and yet, why would the UK feel sanguine about illegal immigrants either? Moreover, and here I think he somewhat misses the point, it isn’t about legal or illegal immigration as such but about a sense of control, something that is both more intangible in many respects but which paradoxically because of that intangibility may require more solidly visible means of combatting it (whether it exists or not). Talking to a range of people from a range of political backgrounds there’s a lot more pessimism expressed than he’s showing.

Fair enough, his job is to put the best face on it. And he has a point in the following:

The ambassador also said that the Irish government does not underestimate the level of “disquiet” felt by many people in the North at the prospect of losing their connection to the EU. He said a hard border needed to be avoided.
“If the UK does leave the EU, Northern Ireland will be in the unique position whereby almost all of its residents will be entitled to citizenship of an EU country, Ireland, and we must be alert to the particular circumstances of those Irish and EU citizens who will find themselves in a situation where they will be citizens of a European Union country, but they will be resident outside of the European Union,” the ambassador said.

So he argues that ‘the best arrangement for Ireland in a post-Brexit environment would be keeping the status quo’.

Indeed. It would. But will it be the one we get?

Here’s a transcript of his prepared paper.

Comments»

1. EWI - September 8, 2016

a border that doesn’t have any geographical basis very much, unlike borders in other parts of Europe

What on earth does this mean, in non-gobbledegook? I realise that Mulhall very evidently has a panglossian Anglophile view of the world (which is why the current lot appointed him there), but this is nonsense.

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Gewerkschaftler - September 8, 2016

That was my first reaction – the border between, say Greece and Makedonia doesn’t ‘doesn’t have any geographical basis very much’ – like most borders it is a consequence of politics and history.

He’s paid to be optimistic and emollient.

But Wall-Builders Inc. would be a good stock to infest in. Certainly some firms in Turkey erm. ‘well connected’ with the AKP are creaming it in.

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2. deiseach - September 8, 2016

Several sensible people made the point about Donald Trump’s ostensible ‘outreach’ to black voters that it was not an attempt at outreach but was flattering his audience that a vote for him was 100% absolutely positively not a vote in favour of racism. I think what we are seeing here is our country’s representative telling the great and the good of our mighty neighbour that we trust them to do the right thing by us, in the hope that their egos will be sufficiently massaged by such a display of cap-twisting servility that they will indeed be moved by a sense of noblesse oblige to do the right thing by us. The alternative is that he genuinely believes this is how the ‘worst case scenario’ will pan out and is therefore woefully ignorant of history.

I don’t know which of those assessments of his motives is worse.

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3. benmadigan - September 8, 2016

“we trust them to do the right thing by us” – given ireland’s shared history with Westminster that would be a very foolish assumption indeed.

Interestingly signs are pointing towards a “hard brexit” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/08/why-all-the-signs-point-to-work-permit-system-and-hard-brexit-as/

A ” hard brexit” is advantageous for England and much less so for everyone else

https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/post-brexit-hard-or-soft-landing/

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