Monday, 18 November 2019

The Northern Ireland Protocol. What Does It Mean?

By Willie Drennan

The Withdrawal Agreement is a very complex and painful read. The majority of the British people have obviously not been able to study this long-winded monstrosity of legal jargon. They rely instead on the interpretations of media correspondents and their politicians of choice - most of whom seemingly haven't studied it in full either.

I have only read parts of the WA and have further developed a wee bald patch on the top of my head to prove  it.  But I have studied the NI Protocol section. The conclusion I have come to, to date, is that it is a horrendous treaty: not just for the Northern Irish part of the UK but for the whole of the UK.

The Backstop is still in there, camouflaged behind the complex legal jargon.

But I am no lawyer. So I have listed, and numbered, 20 of my understandings below in the hope that some legal experts, or highly evolved politicians, will be able to explain to me why I am wrong in my conclusions. I genuinely hope someone can.

1/ The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will rule supreme over any discrepancies that will arise out of the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol.

2/During the Transition period, and for six years thereafter, the EU will be able to make changes to rules and regulations in Northern Ireland that will be binding in perpetuity, even in the event of the Protocol being rejected by the NI electorate.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Boris, Backstop and No Brexit

By Willie Drennan
Sometime in the distant future Stormont might, or might not, get to decide the flag it flies.

Boris has been a shining light amidst the dull world of the political elite. A charmer, comedian and lovable clown. But he is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and that's no joke.

Boris had opportunity to go down in history as the 21st Century Churchillian hero who led a sovereign Britain out across the seven seas to befriend the world. Instead he seems to have chosen the much easier well-trodden path of achieving glory within the confines of the European Union Project. They are just loving him now in Brussels, Strasbourg, Berlin and Bantry Bay.

There are many reasons why I think this Treaty is bad for the whole of the UK but one major deception in the Boris version of the Theresa EU Treaty is the claim that the Irish Backstop is gone. It's not gone, it's there in Article 18 of the Irish Protocol section of the proposed Treaty. And worse, it is now Backstop-Plus.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Ignored Common Travel Area

By Willie Drennan

Why is the significance of the Common Travel Area being largely ignored when it is so relevant to the current Brexit debate?

The Common Travel Area is an Agreement, an arrangement between the United Kingdom and Ireland that allows people born in Cork or Killarney to pack their belongings, hop on a boat or plane heading east, or a car or train up north; to live, work and reap the British benefits available in Bristol, Aberdeen or Coleraine.

And it even works exactly the same the other way round: from UK to Ireland. It has been in place for the benefit of British and Irish alike since shortly after the Irish Free State was formed in 1922. It has been regularly updated and improved upon.

It is the CTA that has created the situation today where there are currently more residents of Great Britain who can apply for an Irish passport than there are Irish citizens residing in the Republic of Ireland. It has recently been estimated that there are at least 6 or 7 million GB residents who can hold an Irish passport: they only need to have one grandparent who was born on the Emerald Isle.