Despite a humility in tone Micheal O’Cathail in replying to Lord Kilclooney (July 16) displays a similarity in smugness to that I noted in Ian Paisley Jnr MP (June 30) and others on the effect following a Brexit on matter of relations within and between these Britannic islands (to use the terminology of Aristotle and other classical geographers).
Whatever the consequences for Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the border alone will be an EU border and not solely a matter for these islands.
Angela Merkel made that clear, in what some saw as a snub to Edna Kenny in Berlin on July 12 . There is nothing special about Ireland.
There might have been something special, and also for the UK, if English, Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish resident in the Republic had the right to be elected, and to elect to, the Dail, as citizens (as noted Letters, June 30) of the Irish Republic resident in any part of the United Kingdom have with respect to Westminster.
A dual citizenship for all within these islands. Is it too late for Brexit?
That aside, response or snub was largely ignored by the media in Northern Ireland. Similarly ignored was the recent description of the Republic’s currently claimed growth rate as “leprechaun economics” by the Nobel prize-winner economist, Paul Krugman. A point made some years earlier, if not in that language, on the financing of the Celtic Tiger by the historian Roy Foster in his Luck and the Irish.
A lot of what is quoted as “growth” is that of the Republic taking its “cut” from profits arising from economic activity elsewhere flowing through Dublin for tax purposes and then flowing out again. This is one way in which the Republic supplements its spending. A matter overlooked by those who taunt Northern Ireland and its financing of welfare.
But it is a way of raising revenue that would be threatened should the EU push ahead with a threatened uniform corporation tax rate. Should Brexit take effect there would be no powerful City of London resisting a transaction tax within the EU and for its own reasons supporting Dublin on the matter as at present.
But also a separate Scotland seeking to finance any shortfall by the same method could constitute a competitive threat. These are amongst the ramifications of a Brexit break-up that it seems few in the two Irelands , the Republic and Northern, think about.
The EU (like the United Kingdom) I agree with Micheal O’Cathail should be about more than economics. But at present it does seem to have lost its way and that and the rising separatist nationalisms is what has led to Brexit.
W A Miller, Belfast BT13