Tariff on idiocy would make us rich indeed

Brace yourselves for a staggeringly pure truth which is stranger than fiction.

Ye thought we were on the brink of April Fools Day and had survived another harsh winter. Wrong on all the fronts that matter, especially for Irish farmers.

The reality is that we are deeply tangled up in a chaotic month of May which I’m assured by experts is certain to worsen by the day and hour and threatens Irish farmers across all their earthy disciplines virtually as dreadfully as did the blight of the Great Famine of the past.

The Maytime involved, of course, is that of the Brexit fiascos on the other side of the Irish Sea which have torn British prime minister May’s party asunder since this year began and which are worsening every day.

Her cabinet is leaking ministers like a sieve, millions of Britons are marching in protest at the manner in which the Brexit talks have been conducted by their leaders in the past two years, potential successors are lining up in her corridors of power in the alleged Mother of Parliaments in Westminster, her own parliament seems to have wrestled away from her the control of any future deals with Brussels, and there is absolute chaos right up and down the Disunited Kingdom.

There is emerging evidence that our Celtic kith and kin in Scotland are moving closer to demanding own independence again.

And our brethren on the other side of our strange border are caught somewhere in the middle of the political swamp.

It is an ironic freak of this Brexit business that if Sinn Féin’s elected politicians had turned their greenbacks on their longtime abstentionist stance a few weeks ago that they could have brought Maytime crashing down during the ides of March.

That would have been a real backstop for certain.

What is clearly emerging from the chaos, however, as has so often been the case in Anglo-Irish history, is that the threat to the entire Irish economy, but especially to Irish farmers and exporters of virtually all our exports to the UK market, is frightening

indeed for us all.

There will be tariffs and excise charges imposed, confusion and delays at any ports through which our agribusiness easily reached the prime UK markets until now, confusion and congestion and, sadly, a dilution of the more harmonious atmosphere on both sides of the border and the community created by the Good Friday Agreement that ended our decades of the most recent Troubles.

Pessimists are already saying that our troubles are likely to begin to sprout sharp thorns again before this incredible month of May is over.

Nobody knows what is coming over the horizons of Brexit but everybody is deeply concerned on the little island where the actions and inactions of English leaders centuries of pain ago filled those same horizons with the coffin ships of the Famine still seared into the folk memory.

On a maybe slightly cynical note in this thorny month of May one remembers that the coffin ships filled by the agonies of the Famine were able to sail with hope to the USA now headed by Donald Trump and crowned by the Statue of Liberty guarding the gateway to the land of the free and the home of the brave as the anthem proclaims.

President Trump stated a few days ago he would visit Ireland very shortly, probably before this chaotic month of May is over and, maybe, just maybe, he will take action to solve all of our problems, political and otherwise, and make Ireland great again.

Even though it has been reported that his golf resort in Doonbeg in West Clare did not make a profit in the last financial year it would not be at all surprising in this incredibly surreal year if he somehow invents a new species of backstop in a matter of hours which will brighten up all the blurred horizons around Europe and the globe just now.

More on this topic

Tory contenders won’t stand aside for Boris Johnson

Boris and Trump show us the PR tactics that work

Jeffrey Donaldson: Westminster's Brexit impasse is Ireland's fault

Race for No 10: Boris borders on ridiculous

More in this Section

Denis Lehane: A roadworthy jeep is ‘life or death’

Farmers seeking urgent approval of TAMS grants

Co Waterford farm has one of largest robotic systems

Strong grass is no good for milking cows


Lifestyle

There’s no fallback on Everest, so what drives climbers to the challenge?

Readers’ haven provides books for tourists and locals in Dingle

A big wave surfer on turning the tide on anxiety

Want to make the most of an urban garden space? Here are seven ideas

More From The Irish Examiner