Charles Flanagan, the Irish Republic’s Foreign Minister is reported (News Letter, July 11) expressing the hope that the EU will respect the common travel area within and between these islands, and the unique status of the Republic’s citizens living in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and further that the EU will not upset the Republic’s uniquely close relations with the United Kingdom.
This is just “me, me” and “me” again.
What is the Republic going to give to the relationship other than exploiting goodwill?
As one who voted Remain in the Brexit referendum (although aware that the EU might well implode given its problems with nationalism in Hungary and Poland, and economic problems in Greece and elsewhere) I suggest Charles Flanagan might have had stronger grounds for his hope with respect to the EU if the Republic had accorded, or were to accord, the same rights to all UK citizens, resident in the Republic, with respect to voting, and being elected to the Dail, as citizens of the Republic, resident in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have to voting for and being elected to Westminster.
If this had been so then the common travel area and these uniquely close relations, not least the trade that passes within and between these islands, would have been a greater factor in shaping future EU relations.
And with respect to Brexit and Wales and England in particular, if this had been so the English, or a lot of the English, particularly the working class (ever patriotic as George Orwell noted years ago) might have overlooked the antics of Bob Geldof taunting Nick Farage of Ukip from a boat on the Thames.
And it might also have been that little less provocative to some, for Dublin politicians fresh from glorying in Easter 1916, and an eventual exit for most of Ireland from the UK (which yet, as Charles Flanagan tacitly acknowledges, was never really a full exit) to be seen urging Irish citizens in the UK to vote Remain for the benefit of the Republic at least.
David Cameron, eventually, but late in the day, became aware of this danger when he pulled out of sharing a meeting with Edna Kenny to urge Irish citizens in England to vote Remain.
W A Miller, Belfast