Speaking to a Sky News reporter last week Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee made the following statement: “We have been very, very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”.
So presumably while it would be fine to use CCTV cameras to track a vehicle through the streets of Dublin, and it would also be fine to use CCTV cameras to follow that vehicle as it set off on a journey northwards, it would cease to be fine once the vehicle was approaching a line on the map of the island of Ireland which the Irish government knows is an international border but wishes to deny is any kind of border at all.
Having seen that Sky interview I formed the view that it would be quite pointless for the UK to even try to negotiate any “deep and special” trade relationship with the EU when one of its continuing member states is adopting such an absurd, extreme and intransigent position and has been foolishly awarded an effective veto on any agreement.
Far better to say now that the UK intends to trade on WTO terms, which would hurt the UK to a small extent and certain EU countries such as Ireland to a somewhat greater extent, but would at least remove much of the uncertainty which is a troubling business.
It is unfortunate that our two countries should be at odds about this, but bear in mind that we in the UK are merely making use of the new “exit clause” which was inserted into the EU treaties by the Lisbon Treaty, a treaty which the Irish government supported so strongly that it forced the Irish people to vote a second time and get the correct answer.
Some would argue that observing how the EU behaved towards Ireland, and also towards some other member states, persuaded a significant segment of British voters that they did not really want to be part of it.