Time To Think About Brexit From The Irish Perspective

I know we said we would never mention Brexit again on our website. But when did never ever mean never? And so it is with us, having spent this last weekend in Cork, Republic of Ireland, my husband and I have been constantly grilled about Brexit. I suppose the Irish cannot understand our desire to leave the EU but, more importantly, the knock on effects to them are not inconsiderable.

Try looking at Brexit from across the Irish Sea and you see it from an entirely different perspective – yes the Irish perspective!

The Irish backstop is the sticking point for them. I had to get my husband to explain the implications to me before we met with my Irish cousin for lunch. It is all about the hard border. The Irish cannot begin to consider going back to the time before the Good Friday agreement. If the UK government cannot solve this issue a hard customs border, policed by British customs officials and police, would be the order of the day.

Leaving the EU with no deal means the hard border would come into effect immediately. Leaving with Mrs. May’s deal would give the UK and Ireland two years to sort out the unsortable so the hard border would still be inevitable.

The Irish are a warm and hospitable race. Staying in Cork we have experienced their kind and caring personalities. Nothing is too much trouble. They want you to have a good time and enjoy their country. But the one issue they are united on is their total rejection of a hard border. However it is out of their hands and that is their frustration.

The leader of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, is encouraging a united Ireland. I am not sure that will ever happen but I can see her logic. It would mean Northern Ireland breaking away from the UK which is something that many Scots would be envious of.

So the Queen giving her sixpence worth to the jam-making women of Norfolk is no surprise. She has seen her Kingdom diminish in size throughout her lifetime and losing Northern Ireland and then possibly Scotland would be a bitter pill to swallow.

However this is not about one person or even one nation. This is about a decision that 37% of the U.K. voted for. The other 63% is made up of those that voted to remain and those that had the right to vote and did not do so for whatever reason. Maybe they were undecided, confused or disinterested. Whatever everyone voted and their reasons for doing so has brought us to this stand-off situation.

We are all fed up with the bickering amongst politicians, our own friends and the rest of of Europe. There is no right way out of this that will make everyone happy so we are just going to have to compromise, put our best foot forward and get on with it.

Our country has never been so divided. We need to come together but with this Parliament I am not sure that is even possible. It is like having a bad hand in a game of cards – we need to throw in all of our cards and get dealt a new hand.


  1. I enjoy your site but maybe politics not best suited?! By the way it’s the Republic of Ireland, and I’m sure you know 56% of Northern Ireland voted to remain. We like our Irish neighbours and it was the EU that brought about the end of the hard border – we’re talking customs posts and tariffs here not terrorism – although the return of the former might bring about the return of the latter. Glad you enjoyed Cork.

    • Sorry I did not mean it to sound like a political rant. It was just seeing Brexit from another angle. I can only comment as I heard from the people of Cork and my cousin from Dublin. There was a very scary article in one of the Irish papers about what a hard border could mean and I must say no-one could want that. I really hope it does not come to that and that the British politicians can negotiate a deal that keeps everyone in both parts of Ireland happy. I loved Cork – it is a very long time since I had been there. It was where my mother was from. A

  2. The issue of the hard border is a result of posturing and grandstanding by politicians. Norway (non-EU) has a 1000 mile + border with Sweden (EU); Switzerland (non-EU) has borders with several EU countries. Are there police and/or soldiers or complicated and time-consuming checks on any of these borders? No. There are well-established procedures for the smooth transport of goods between these countries and with common sense the same could be achieved on the Eire/NI border. Sadly, common sense seems to be a rare commodity among politicians.

  3. I so agree . We need to get on with it .. stop squabbling and think of the best for all… not just ourselves. I am abroad at the moment and I can tell you that I am constantly questioned..the rest of the world can not believe that we Great Britain we have allowed ourselves to get into this situation .Move forward. Take the consequences and rebuild .

  4. I so agree with Annabel re this whole ghastly scenario and the dreadful state of the UK today : what have we come to? I have lived now for nearly 79 years and have never seen such bitterness and downright hatred emanating through social media and the fact that our prime minister never, ever refers to people like myself and my husband who voted Remain for the sake of our children, grandchildren and for ourselves makes me despair! I no longer admire her for perseverance but pity her for lack of foresight, empathy and Imagination and even the opposition seems to be a disaster just when we need parties to come together for the good of the whole country.

  5. I am a new reader of your
    Magazine and am a little surprised at the political nature of it and what I consider to be a thinly disguised pro remain article. I agree that the Irish border problem is something of a red herring and feel that we should all be a little more concerned about Mrs May’s deal which leaves us neither in nor out of the EU and without any representation. I think I will concentrate on your other articles.

    • You are right that we are not a political magazine and we only write a comment piece once a week. We focus on topical rather than political but this week, as I had been in Ireland and since everyone was talking about the Backstop, I wrote about it from the Irish point of view. I am not saying that I support either the Brexiteers or the Remainers but I am simply looking at this issue through Irish eyes i.e. the people I spoke to including my Irish cousin. I did not know how they truly felt until I visited so they were their views not mine. I know how sensitive this issue is so would not want to inflict my opinion on our readers.
      Other weeks we have written about female friendship, plastic in our oceans and recycling, ageing and losing one’s independence! You just caught us on a week that it was more political! But glad you enjoy the other articles.

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