Ireland and the UK are moving apart, not closer, due to Brexit

My letter in response to John Taylor’s letter and his letter in response to mine

The Newsletter published a letter from me regarding John Taylor (aka Lord Kilclooney)’s letter predicting that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will bring Ireland economically closer to the UK.

John Taylor, Lord Kilclooney

John Taylor replied two days later. Here are the letters.

A chara,
I read Lord Kilclooney’s letter (May 12) about the Republic moving closer to the UK and was stupefied by the sweeping statements.
While much remains to be seen as the negotiations for the UK’s departure from the EU are only beginning, it is clear that Brexit will cause a gulf between Ireland, as an EU member state, and the UK.
It will not be business as usual and it is unwise to imagine that things will remain more or less as they are.
Lord Kilclooney stated “The reality is that Brexit will create economic circumstances which will bring the Republic closer to the UK again” but he provided no proof that this will happen.
How is he so sure of this?
Can he explain how Ireland and the UK are going to be closer when the UK leaves the EU?
While small Irish businesses which are heavily reliant on exporting to the UK are going to be seriously affected by Brexit, it is very difficult to imagine how tariffs and customs placed on exports and imports are going to bring Ireland and the UK closer together.
By the UK leaving the Customs’ Union and the Single Market, the Irish and the UK’s economies will diverge drastically. It will be easier and cheaper for Irish businesses to look to do business with other EU states rather than trying to do business with the UK.
He concludes that the Republic might wish to leave the EU. Most people in Ireland (all 32 counties) are generally supportive of being in the EU. Did Lord Kilclooney not hear about the rush for Irish passport application forms the day after the Brexit referendum last June?
Unionists who would never before dreamed of looking for an Irish passport saw the benefit of doing that as it allows them to be EU citizens and reap the benefits of it.
It is far too early to know that will happen to Ireland, the UK and the EU upon the departure of the UK, but it is probably not going to be like the way Lord Kilclooney imagines it will be.
Is mise,
Seanán Ó Coistín,
John Taylor’s reply:

I enjoyed the letter from Mr Seanán Ó Coistín (‘Stupefied by Lord Kilclooney letter,’ May 15) of Germany and I agree with much of it but not his conclusion.

I suspect he is not a unionist!

The economy of the Republic will be crucified unless it is given a special status within the EU or exits the EU. After all realism caused the Republic to join the EEC the same day as the UK.

Initially southern politicians tried to conceal the damage that Brexit would cause to the economy.
Now it is increasingly being accepted that the Republic, more than any of the other 26 EU nations, will suffer most from Brexit.

Its agri exports are already in decline; mushroom plants are closing down; beef prices are in decline; the number of UK tourists has fallen 6% so far this year; and now its Central Bank suggests that 40,000 jobs could be lost.

As Mr Ó Coistín accepts it will no longer be business as usual.

The best answer to this expected damage to the southern economy is (1) for it to leave the EU the same day as the UK or (2) to gain special status within the EU so that it may have a privileged trading relationship with the UK.

Either way it will bring the Republic closer to the UK which actually will please an increasing number of people within the Republic.

Lord Kilclooney former MEP


Co Armagh

I enjoyed the response from Lord Kilclooney. Good-natured and polite interactions like the above are necessary to discuss the impact that the departure of the UK from the EU will have on Ireland.