Ireland threatens to veto Brexit talks over Irish border

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  • Dublin delivered a stark warning today that it is ready to torpedo Brexit talks unless the UK caves in over the border with Ireland.


    Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said his country would block the start of trade discussions over the issue even if the divorce bill is resolved.

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    Arlene Foster making noises last week too:

    TENSIONS over Brexit and the Irish border have intensified with Arlene Foster accusing Ireland’s Taoiseach of being “reckless” and warning him not to “play around” with Northern Ireland.


    Here's one viewpoint from a Irish perspective on "perfidious Albion":

    The Irish question is back in British politics. Next month the European Union must decide whether sufficient progress has been made in the Brexit negotiations to move on to the next phase of talks. Should Ireland veto an unsatisfactory UK offer on Northern Ireland’s future relations with the EU or would that prejudice an acceptable deal at the end of the talks?

    The Irish border problem is a genuinely complex issue for several reasons.

    • Nobody wants a hard border. Not the British government, the Irish government or the unionists or republicans in Northern Ireland.
    • Everyone wants the peace process to continue.
    • A majority in Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU during the UK referendum.
    • Northern Ireland's trade, especially its agricultural industry is closely integrated with that of the Republic of Ireland.
    • The UK is leaving the customs union.

    How can the UK leave the customs union and not have a border on the island of Ireland which would almost certainly destroy the peace on that island?


    From the Irish perspective, Brexit is a lose-lose situation. They didn't get to decide whether the UK leaves the EU or not and most of their trade is with the UK, but their most pressing concern is not going back to The Troubles.


    The EU leaders have their final meet up of the year on Monday and will decide whether they'll allow the EU to progress onto talks with the UK on trade or not. The Irish will be in a powerful position, their most powerful position they'll have ever have had over us, will they use it and veto the Brexit talks?

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  • And while we discussing the above riddle, would anyone like to throw light on 3 related rhetorical questions about the Irish border mess which the media are too dumb to ask, the politicians too Machiavellian, stupid or timid to raise and the public too bored, ignorant or confused to even think about


    1 Isn't it obvious that Southern Ireland (a.k.a Eire) will veto any border control with Northern Island (a.k.a UK) just to put the UK into a state of political and economic paralysis/limbo- land as the ultimate revenge for all that Britain has inflicted on Ireland over hundreds of years?


    2 Isn't it also obvious that Northern Ireland (who thanks to Theresa May's throwing away her modest majority) now hold the Tory party over a barrel) and that they would rather stay in the EU than be dragged down by a bunch of losers (a.k,a Britain), who will probably run out of money to keep Northern Island in the manner to which it has been accustomed?


    3 Isn't Theresa May's smiling (or smilingly-resigned) relationship with NI's Ariene Foster an indication that they are both semi-closeted remainers delivering the UK into an inescapable EU cul de sac?

    It's not obvious, no, that the Irish will veto the Brexit talks, but as I said in my comments above, they are in a powerful position now and they have a lot to lose, in many respects, far more than us because of Brexit.


    Ireland, the entire island, is still heavily dependent on agricultural, it's such a crucial industry for them. Brexit can potentially destroy this vital industry. They will do what is in their interests, the same as any other country.


    The DUP is in a powerful position, but is that more powerful than Conservative backbenchers, I don't think so.


    I don't know whether May or Foster would like the UK to remain in the EU or not, or whether they wish for Brexit talks to collapse. But I am certain that neither wishes for a return to The Troubles.

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  • In retrospect it makes sense that you have re-assigned my new thread to within this one. Thanks.


    ***


    I agree Ireland has a lot to lose if the EU allows politics to get in the way of an amicable and rational trading arrangements. But that is no good reason for Ireland to sabotage Brexit for their own ends. They could have held back the option of playing that self-serving trump card until finding that the trade negotiations were getting nowhere and a no-deal Brexit was the only outcome. All their babbling about breaking the Good Friday Agreement is bullshit; it doesn't have to treated as a tablet of stone, there are softer custom border solutions available in this digital age; the idea that any kind of customs arrangement will automatically mean a revival of "The Irish Troubles" suggests Britain is in danger of being lumbered with a relationship with a bunch of political psychopaths.


    Like you I don't know if May or Foster or Southern Ireland want Brexit to collapse. But you have to admit it's a persuasive hypothesis. If Brexit went ahead, Northern Ireland would have as much chance as Scotland of being welcomed into the EU if they un-bundled from Britain. Also, Southern Ireland with inine-tenths Catholics would hardly be falling over themselves to welcome that half of Northern Ireland that is protestant.

  • In retrospect it makes sense that you have re-assigned my new thread to within this one. Thanks.

    You're welcome. There's so many aspects to Brexit, that if it all stays within the one thread, it becomes too messy. That Junker thread is specifically about the divorce bill. It's also why I created a whole forum for Brexit specifically, as these issues are not going to go away any time soon. If remainers have their way, they'll never go away...:rolleyes:


    I agree Ireland has a lot to lose if the EU allows politics to get in the way of an amicable and rational trading arrangements. But that is no good reason for Ireland to sabotage Brexit for their own ends. They could have held back the option of playing that self-serving trump card until finding that the trade negotiations were getting nowhere and a no-deal Brexit was the only outcome. All their babbling about breaking the Good Friday Agreement is bullshit; it doesn't have to treated as a tablet of stone, there are softer custom border solutions available in this digital age; the idea that any kind of customs arrangement will automatically mean a revival of "The Irish Troubles" suggests Britain is in danger of being lumbered with a relationship with a bunch of political psychopaths.

    I am a member of Pie, Ireland's main political forum and have spoken about this at length, so my opinions have been shaped by them in some regards.;)


    I think from their point of view, they are playing this card now because they do see it as the ideal time. If they wait until after a trade deal is negotiated and then veto it, that may isolate them within the EU if all other member states want the agreement ratified.


    I've said on Pie about the possible solutions to the customs/border issue and really repeating what David Davis has already said. You can have drones. You can have smart CCTV. Electronic tagging of goods. There are lots of ways to "police" the border and customs without bringing back the army towers, dogs and attack helicopters. Besides, in a select committee, DD basically just alluded to the fact that if the Revenue lose £300m on duties, then so be it. That's cheaper than mobilising the army again and having a substantial security presence in Northern Ireland once more.


    What has been said to me on Pie from the Irish point of view, is that if the UK does leave the customs unions, Southern Ireland will have an obligation under EU law to protect the single market and goods illegally coming into the EU, untaxed, across the Irish border from the UK.


    Like you I don't know if May or Foster or Southern Ireland want Brexit to collapse. But you have to admit it's a persuasive hypothesis. If Brexit went ahead, Northern Ireland would have as much chance as Scotland of being welcomed into the EU if they un-bundled from Britain. Also, Southern Ireland with inine-tenths Catholics would hardly be falling over themselves to welcome that half of Northern Ireland that is protestant.

    The wider issue of Northern Ireland and its future is really for another topic, but as you mentioned it.... Obviously, the DUP with their prehistoric views are unhappy bed fellows with the Conservatives. But beyond that, Brexit has caused a divide between Britain and Northern Ireland.


    A majority in NI voted to stay in the EU in the referendum and nobody in the province wants a hard border. Seems a "obvious" solution to this conundrum... most people on that island want a united Ireland, perhaps Brexit maybe the mechanism that brings this about.


    Finally, as the door was opened on this subject, as well as not wanting the unionists, the Southern Irish don't want to pay for them either, but if given a real opportunity to have a united Ireland, I believe they'll go for it in a second.

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  • I take your point that Southern Ireland might spoil their relationship wit the EU if they held back the veto until negotiations were complete and the border method was still unresolved or unsatisfactory.


    I still think NI's motive for being difficult and threatening to veto UK-EU trade negotiations is to force Britain into abandoning Brexit.


    My wife (Scottish and a lapsed Catholic) thinks the motive is more basic and deep rooted than that. She thinks NI protestants are just evil bastards who want to screw Catholic Southern Ireland and if this triggers Southern Island to resume its terrorist/guerrilla warfare across the border then the NI military/constabulary will happily revert to type, regularly "rounding up the usual suspects" from within NI's Catholic population. My wife might be right but I still think the additional motivation is to provide the British Government with the excuse they are looking for to throw in the towel on Brexit.


    All because (1) Cameron held a referendum and (2) Theresa May threw away her workable majority and now has to play along with NI

  • When you say NI's motive, I'm assuming you mean DUP.


    I don't think there is any desire to go back to the problems of the past. Ian Paisley is dead. Martin Mc Guinness is dead and Gerry Adams is retiring next year. So all the terrorists/thugs of old are either dead or are old men.


    What is happening is demographics. The unionists dominated NI since its inception, but at the last election, the unionists lost their majority for the first time.


    The DUP are still the largest party but cannot dominate the politics of NI anymore, hence its current stagnation. Whether they use the cover of Brexit as a means to derail things, possibly. But as I said, it's not that they want a return to violence, who would, that would be insane, it's just they wish to remain top dogs.

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  • Yes I mean DUP


    Possibly your analysis is better considered than mine. I grant you that DUP have become politically emasculated in recent years and while, as you say, "no one actually wants a return to violence", your reason, "that would be insane", isn't good enough, because an alarming proportion of these NI protestants are insane. It is the other reason you give which probably supports my analysis, "it's just that they wish to be top dogs". It is that which risks opening the door to violence.


    On the other hand, as you point out, McGuinness and Adams have retired, and even Paisley stopped foaming at the mouth towards the end, and people like Thrimble showed a side to NI Protestants that I'm sure many Southern Irish Catholics would be content to co-exist with (more Fatah than Hamas).


    In short, it could go either way.

  • ...yep.

    The UK's offer on Brexit must be acceptable to the Republic of Ireland before the negotiations can move on, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has said.

    Mr Tusk was speaking after talks with the Irish prime minister in Dublin on Friday.


    He said: "The UK's future lies - in some ways - in Dublin".

    If the Irish did block Brexit trade negotiations and in effect derail Brexit, it would set British-Irish relations back decades.

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  • ...yep.

    If the Irish did block Brexit trade negotiations and in effect derail Brexit, it would set British-Irish relations back decades.

    Couldn't agree more. On a positive financial note, it's one less UK region to prop up. Let's face it, the good guys are - always were - in Southern Ireland


    It also means Brexit fails, Britain stays in the EU and Theresa May will be replaced by someone significantly better, which is simply anyone with a pulse.


    It's sadly true that Britain doesn't have what it takes to trade successfully further afield


    It's that morality story about the little bird which is trying to migrate and it's wings ice up and it plunges to the ground, and is freezing to death, but a cow wanders by and dumps on the little bird. The warm dung helps the bird to recover and it starts flapping it's wings to resume its journey and along comes a cat, notices the movement and eats the dung-glad bird.


    The three morals with a clear bearing on Britain vis a vis the EU are:


    1 Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy

    2 If you're safe and warm in a pile of shit, stay there

    3 Not everyone who eats your shit is your friend

  • As said in the divorce bill thread, it's not the Irish (Southern Irish) threatening to veto things now but the DUP for the reasons I already stated in this thread, namely that they fear being cast adrift from the UK and forced into a country they don't want to be a part of.


    The problem with the "anyone with a pulse is better than May" comment is that could mean we end up with Corbyn and his momentum movement, whatever/whoever they are...

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  • As said in the divorce bill thread, it's not the Irish (Southern Irish) threatening to veto things now but the DUP for the reasons I already stated in this thread, namely that they fear being cast adrift from the UK and forced into a country they don't want to be a part of.


    The problem with the "anyone with a pulse is better than May" comment is that could mean we end up with Corbyn and his momentum movement, whatever/whoever they are...

    You're right. We are between a rock and a hard place.

  • Wrt the bold statement, ( in more ways than one) -maybe you could provide some credible evidence to support your crystal ball reading...or did you use Tarot cards???

    For example - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…tside-the-european-union/ from someone who at least can claim to have some first hand experience in such matters.

  • The deal the UK government was set to agree with the European Union on Monday came as "a big shock" to the DUP, its leader Arlene Foster has said.


    She was speaking to Republic of Ireland national broadcaster RTÉ.


    Talks in Brussels halted because the DUP, which props up the Tory minority government, rejected a proposal about the future of the Irish border.

    We all spoke about this earlier in the year that May's deal may come back to bite her, but I don't think any of us could have fathomed the way things turned out after yesterday's fiasco.


    These Neanderthals (the DUP) will now decide whether Brexit happens or not.X( And to think, only a few days ago we were worried that it would be the Irish government that might cause problems. Nope! Wrong tribe.

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  • This whole business has now become a total fiasco. If May hadn't called the last election she wouldn't have to be relying on the support of DUP at all. Now as it is, Barnier and Juncker et al must be laughing their heads off thinking all their Christmasses have come at once. Keir Starmer was right when he said it was embarrassing. We must look complete fools to the rest of the world, never mind the EU.


    How on earth can anyone negotiate for the UK with so many divisions? How can we even think about negotiating trade deals if all this in fighting is going on? The EU will walk all over us.


    It's beginning to look as if we don't know what we want and won't be happy until we get it.

  • Does seem to be a lot of hot air over a non-problem. Anybody would think they didn't want us to leave the EU.


    Tough, it's going to happen anyway, deal or no deal, preferably as things are going no deal looks the better option. IMHO

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • This whole business has now become a total fiasco. If May hadn't called the last election she wouldn't have to be relying on the support of DUP at all. Now as it is, Barnier and Juncker et al must be laughing their heads off thinking all their Christmasses have come at once. Keir Starmer was right when he said it was embarrassing. We must look complete fools to the rest of the world, never mind the EU.


    How on earth can anyone negotiate for the UK with so many divisions? How can we even think about negotiating trade deals if all this in fighting is going on? The EU will walk all over us.


    It's beginning to look as if we don't know what we want and won't be happy until we get it.

    Does seem to be a lot of hot air over a non-problem. Anybody would think they didn't want us to leave the EU.

    They don't.


    Unfortunately, I've missed the bulk of the Brexit stuff in parliament over the last two days, but Keir Starmer said he wants the Brexit date of March 2019 removed from the "Great Repeal Bill." In other words, if there is no leave date, that could morph into no leave itself. It's why the Conservative MPs are silent over May's "deal" with the EU. If they start on her, Labour will get in.


    I did think that May going to the electorate to get legitimacy for her premiership was the correct thing to do, but how she carried this out with her smug slogan "strong and stable leadership" backfired on her and all us.


    We really need strong and stable leadership now, not weak leadership underpinned by the DUP, but there we go. Shit happens and we're waist deep in it.

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  • I did think that May going to the electorate to get legitimacy for her premiership was the correct thing to do, but how she carried this out with her smug slogan "strong and stable leadership" backfired on her and all us.

    I think the decision was right given the state of the polls, however, it was far too long and allowed JC et-al to make weeks of uncosted and impossible "gifts" to all and sundry plus the campaign was lackluster at best.


    We are where we are. To much has already been promised to the EU and IMHO it's time to walk away and let them sweat it out.


    Then the uncertainty ends: It's WTO rules on EU trade from March 2019 and best prepare for it.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • I love the fact that Ireland can hold sway over any deal we get, how did we ever get shafted into joining this appalling organisation? , why politicians aren't now in the dock for all the lies told to us is beyond me , they knew the barbs of the EU run very deep and would be very painful to remove but they signed us up to agreement after agreement.

  • That's the thing, Nigel, it's not Ireland (the republic) holding sway right at this moment, but some specific Irishmen.


    As Andrew Neil just said on the BBC's politics show a hour ago, hasn't anyone in Downing Street done GCSE politics?


    The most important thing for unionists is keeping the union and as the DUP is in effect, in coalition with the conservatives, the DUP should've been the first group the government spoke to before going to Brussels to agree the deal.

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  • I think the decision was right given the state of the polls, however, it was far too long and allowed JC et-al to make weeks of uncosted and impossible "gifts" to all and sundry plus the campaign was lackluster at best.

    See my comment in the Juncker thread. The conservative backbenches are-a-stiring.

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  • The EU's chief Brexit negotiator has denied Arlene Foster's claims that he has been "aggressive" towards Northern Ireland unionists in the Brexit talks.

    It comes after the DUP leader said Michel Barnier did not understand the dispute and was not an "honest broker".

    I can't find the story about Barnier's comments this morning, so I'll just link this other story for now.


    Just as we got a new home secretary, Barnier was making a speech in Ireland and it wasn't good...


    I only saw part of the speech, but basically he said the UK's proposals for the Irish border are unsatisfyingly and he doesn't agree with them. The British government has hinted that electronic means will be used to "police" the border, but has stated its policy og having no hard border which could jeopardise the peace process.


    The UK is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.X/


    Barner has previously said that the EU must have a proper border with non-EU countries and the Irish government has fully supported that while on the other hand saying they will never tolerate a hard border in Ireland.


    Perhaps this just another negotiating tactic by Barnier, but could the Irish problem derail Brexit?

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  • Switzerland, which is NOT in the EU, does not have a 'hard' border. They use electronic checks (available 7 days per week) and run random checks, but not on the border. The checks can occur anywhere, and are often carried out miles from the border.


    The EU don't want a solution. They are trying to force the UK, or part of it, to remain in the Customs Union.


    From the Independent - a pro-EU rag

    Mark Twain — 'Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'

  • I would go further than that Fidget, and say that the EU don't want us to leave the EU at all. Of course if we stay in the Customs unions, we'd have to accept EU law etc etc, so would not in affect really ever leave the EU.


    Negotiations restart on the future relationship in a few weeks, so we should get a "feeler" how this will go.

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  • I would go further than that Fidget, and say that the EU don't want us to leave the EU at all. Of course if we stay in the Customs unions, we'd have to accept EU law etc etc, so would not in affect really ever leave the EU.


    Negotiations restart on the future relationship in a few weeks, so we should get a "feeler" how this will go.

    Agreed. They won't admit it, but they are scared silly by Brexit. As usual they resort to bullying and blackmail which just hardens my resolve. I would leave the EU without a deal, if ever I got to vote on it. The EU are not honourable or trustworthy. I'd rather bite the bullet and suffer the short term pain. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will reap long term gain. God knows what the future of the EU is, but going by the past, it will become more controlling and dictatorial.

    Mark Twain — 'Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'

  • Problem is the other countries don't know where the EU is heading either. They should make up their minds before things get out of control and the EU turns into something nobody wants.

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  • Switzerland, which is NOT in the EU, does not have a 'hard' border. They use electronic checks (available 7 days per week) and run random checks, but not on the border. The checks can occur anywhere, and are often carried out miles from the border.


    The EU don't want a solution. They are trying to force the UK, or part of it, to remain in the Customs Union.


    From the Independent - a pro-EU rag

    This appears to be the solution from Reese-Mogg's group on how to deal with the border problem:


    A hard border on the island of Ireland can be avoided by using "established" technology and "modifying" existing arrangements, Brexiteer Tory MPs say.

    The European Research Group called for streamlined customs checks and closer working between Belfast and Dublin to allay compliance and smuggling fears.

    The Democratic Unionist Party welcomed the "positive and timely" report but Sinn Fein said it was "pure fantasy".

    If this all sounds familiar to you, it is, because it was David Davis' idea on how to solve the border problem before he got sidelined by May's own plans.


    It seems perfectly workable to do "border" checks at the point of origins of goods on the island of Ireland and even David Trimble was with Reese-Mogg today and was enthusiastic about this too.


    Will the Irish government accept this, will ours...?

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  • No chance. The EU are playing for keeps, ie. keeping the UK under EU control. It's time that our politicians stopped playing along with them, and respected the referendum which THEY voted for!

    Mark Twain — 'Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'

  • This border issue really has been the thing to bully us over. The peace process is important, but so is Brexit. It's about time all the politicians stopped playing games.


    These proposals by Team Mogg are exactly what you posted about Fidget, in that the Swiss already organise their border with the EU in this way. But as I said in another thread, the Swiss also have to accept free movement...

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  • Who has actually said Ireland will spill over into violence again ? , why would a border initiate this?

    There is a border already. Ireland and Northern Ireland are separated by a border, and things like VAT, tax and everything else are managed without customs posts and have been since before the EU came into existence. Checkpoints were only introduced because of the trouble between them.

    Mark Twain — 'Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'