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May in Dublin: A meeting entirely without substance February 8, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Good point from Noel Whelan in the IT on Friday about the Theresa May visit to Dublin last week.

Her visits to Cardiff and Dublin had all the hallmarks of a round of consultative photocalls before the Westminster parliament debated the Brexit Bill later in the week.


It is noteworthy that May not only declined the honour of addressing both Houses of the Oireachtas, but also held no discussions with non-government parliamentarians or other stakeholders, and opted merely for a ritualistic meeting with Enda Kenny, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and some of their officials and advisers.
May was accompanied to Dublin by Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, but none of her three ministers who will actually negotiate Brexit, David Davis, Boris Johnson or Liam Fox, came along with her.


This Anglo- Irish summit on Brexit also had limited value as a media opportunity. Irish journalists dutifully covered the meeting but it got almost no coverage in London.
It seems few if any of the Downing Street press corps travelled to report on it.

This seems to align with a dawning perception of her as a lightweight politician almost entirely lacking in substance. But as Whelan notes this is much much deeper than that: ‘[it] revealed much about the low priority which she and her government attach to engagement with Ireland on the implications of Brexit.’

This site has long argued that this state and this island and its concerns are hardly an afterthought in the Brexit process, at least from the perspective of London. And that has practical implications as detailed here on Friday. Whelan again notes the testimony given to the Select Committee on Northern Ireland which heard that a ‘frictionless’ border was a fantasy.

Still, it’s an interesting tonal shift in Whelan’s writing. For a while now he’s been running in the conceptual slipstream of Tom McGurk’s sub-Irexit musings where Britain is painted as our necessary ‘partner’, whereas perhaps the penny is dropping that Britain is in fact the architect and perpetuator of a disastrous dynamic for this island in terms of the implications and form of Brexit.

Keep in mind that were Britain to remain in the EEA/EFTA configuration all this would not be an issue. But that would require Britain accepting freedoms of movement (albeit there are potential controls on same which could be implemented). And as we know immigration is the key component of Brexit for this Tory gov


1. An Sionnach Fionn - February 8, 2017

Brian Feeney in the Irish News with similar points:

THE British government intends to partition the island of Ireland more thoroughly than ever before. Make no mistake about it, that is the inevitable reckless consequence of the Conservative government’s decision to leave the EU Customs Union.

The current phrase trotted out, including in the Brexit White Paper making the resultant border “as seamless and frictionless as possible” is meaningless and Theresa May and her ministers know that.

The next phrase in the white paper, “so that we can continue to see the trade and everyday movements we have seen up to now” is just nonsense. It can’t happen and that is slowly beginning to dawn on ministers in Dublin after the depressing meeting they had with May fresh from her desperate grovelling to Trump and Erdogan.

In a rare serious response to a question in the Dáil from the Sinn Féin leader about the visit, Enda Kenny admitted, “Deputy Adams asked me about having a situation where there is no land border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. I am not sure that we are going to achieve that”.

He also notes the UK’s possible flexible position on the question of EU-Gibraltar relations.


EWI - February 10, 2017

He also notes the UK’s possible flexible position on the question of EU-Gibraltar relations.

The Tories can’t have both a hard border in Ireland and a soft one on the Iberian peninsula; which is it to be?


2. CL - February 8, 2017

‘The main benefit of the Brexit for Ireland will be that it provides new work opportunities for customs specialists, accountants, IT experts, and infrastructure builders. Irish travellers will have to comply with the customs and the related Vat and excise rules when they buy goods in Northern Ireland.’

“-What causes most concern is how co-operative the UK will be on the infrastructure front, once the new system is required.

“Ireland will operate its rules,” says another official familiar with EU customs rules. “But how close will the UK come to what Ireland is doing? Will they want to build glass customs posts … or concrete ones?”-”


3. sonofstan - February 8, 2017

Almost the best argument for reunification is the fact that no one in Britain, least of all politicians, cares or knows very much about us; ‘us’ being the whole island. Jermy Corbyn being one of the big exceptions, but even then, it hasn’t seemed to have cost him a thought one way or the other.

Liked by 1 person

4. shea - February 8, 2017

are they turning a border in the irish sea into a potential negotiation point or is it same as it was back to the good old days 7 year old behind the wheel of a car recklessness and we are in the passenger seat?


5. dublinstreams - February 8, 2017

um didn’t they say there would be no pre-negotiations


shea - February 8, 2017

i just presumed they said that as part of there pre negotiations strategy.

Liked by 1 person

6. baalthor - February 9, 2017

Phoenix magazine calling for Bertie and JOHN BRUTON to lead the Brexit negotiations !


EWI - February 10, 2017

Bruton knows on which side his pension’s paid.


7. Jemmyhope - February 10, 2017

On which side?

Liked by 1 person

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