Ireland and UK had warm relations in their early EEC days


I am impressed by Morning View’s (November 10) succinct overview of the current British and Irish political relationship regarding Europe.

However, I have difficulty with the word “gradually” in the description that “Ireland has gradually become a key ally of Britain in the European Union”.

When Ireland joined the European Common Market or EEC, along with the UK in the early 70s (the EEC was the predecessor to the EU), I was privileged to be appointed to the EEC, in Brussels, as one of the Irish representatives on Eco/Fin and had, so to speak, a front seat view of Ireland’s relationship with the UK in an EEC context, at its beginning; it was a close, warm and friendly – as would be expected from two island peoples in close proximity, sharing a common language, cultural similarities and outlooks.

Unfortunately, and mainly because of events in Northern Ireland, this warm friendship between the two island peoples became clouded and distorted. Because of the courage and hard work of leaders in both the UK and Ireland and elsewhere, especially the USA, this natural warm relationship between the UK and Ireland is back on its natural track. I pray that it will always be so.

You correctly point out that Dublin is concerned at the prospect of the UK formally leaving the EU. The horse has already half bolted. The truth is that the UK by not joining the euro currency has put itself in a halfway house position vis a vis the EU. The UK really needs to decide whether it wishes to fully participate in the EU, or act honestly, and formally leave it.

I think it will be foolish for Ireland to become over-involved in this matter.

The UK is a very big humpty dumpty that has half fallen and attempting to put it back together is beyond Ireland’s strength. I think Ireland should adopt a neutral stance as it mainly did regarding the Scottish referendum.

I think you are also somewhat misplaced in suggesting that if Britain was against something, Ireland was for it. From my experience, generally, when Ireland’s administration took major decisions it looked solely to Ireland’s interests.

Yes, Ireland was eager to join the EEC; it was because of the long experience of being, by a long shot, the weaker party in trade dealings with the UK.

Agreed, within the EEC and now EU, Ireland remains a small entity, but it no longer has to deal solely with one dominant country.

Some may argue that Germany is dominant within the EU, but Ireland does not have to face it on its own as was the case regarding the UK and Ireland, prior to EEC membership.

Micheal O’Cathail, Fermanagh