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.

Friday, 11 October 2019

2nd EU Referendum/Irish Border Poll

The Irish Border - during the Troubles.
By Willie Drennan.

Let's have a 2nd Referendum. Yes let's do it - at least 7 or 8 years after the UK has categorically left the EU. And Let's have an Irish Border Poll. Yes, let's do it: at least 7 or 8 years after the whole of the UK has categorically left the EU.

A 2nd EU Referendum before the result of the 2016 referendum has been fully implemented and given time to establish would be a travesty: a mockery of democracy.

An Irish Border Poll would be the exact same thing as a 2nd EU Referendum for the people of Northern Ireland. A Dublin-controlled independent United Ireland is no longer on the cards as the Republic of Ireland, like the UK, is currently under the jurisdiction of Brussels.

I do have empathy with my many friends who voted Remain: who genuinely fear for their careers and pensions when their employment is somehow connected to the EU System. This is particularly true in Northern Ireland where dependency on Public Sector employment is among the highest of any UK region: where fears of a 'hard border' were promoted in the EU's referendum campaign.