Allow me to I put the following points to Daniel McConnell ‘Ireland is too hardline on backstop’, (Irish Examiner, August 3) for his consideration.
a) The issue in question is not one between the UK and Ireland but rather one between the EU and the UK. Whatever the merits of the arguments on either side, holding the appropriate and responsible parties to account is surely a basic requirement of anyone purporting to offer a serious analysis of the situation.
(b) The instigator of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU was the UK, not the EU and most certainly, not Ireland. A consequence of this decision is that it will inflict damage on the EU (and in a most acute way, Ireland) and indeed on the UK itself. Whatever about the damage caused to the UK itself, assuredly no external entity is entitled to impose hardship on another and do so with impunity.
It is beyond dispute that a no-deal Brexit would not alone put 50,000 jobs in this jurisdiction at risk but would put at risk the peace so hard-won in the Good Friday Agreement. Hence the need for the UK to make good or at least, substantially ameliorate any damage its actions cause to other parties including Ireland.
(c) In this “debate” the pro-Brexit side has exhibited a profound ignorance of some of the most basic aspects of the issues involved. One thinks immediately of the ridiculous equating of the Irish border with those between neighbouring London boroughs.
(d) The defenders of the leave position both in parliament and in the press are engaging increasingly in ad hominem arguments (as Mr McConnell illustrates in his article). Why do some Irish commentators feel the need to lend support to such people when there is no obvious advantage to Ireland of a Brexit without the backstop?
(e) The nearest equivalent to Brexit is that of a divorce between previously married persons. At one level, marriage is deemed to be a legal contract between two persons. In the event of either or both parties wishing to annul this legal bond, certain obligations from the original contract still remain and have to be resolved In a way that is fair to both parties. In other words, a unilateral disavowal of existing legal obligations would not be countenanced in any self-respecting, law-biding entity. The no-deal Brexit position is on very thin ice indeed, in advocating such a course.
This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 6 August 2019.