Reasons to be cheerful for Brexit
The following letter was published in The Irish Examiner and in The Leinster Leader. I am of the opinion that in the long run Brexit will actually be beneficial to Ireland. We will be able to move away from Britain politically, economically and culturally. Brexit may cause the breakup of the so-called United Kingdom and hasten Irish reunification.
There are many reasons for the people of Ireland to be happy for the UK to leave the EU.
The so-called United Kingdom is no longer united. It is likely that Scotland will become independent in a few years. Ireland should welcome this as it will mean the creation of a friendly neighbouring state with which Ireland has much in common, far more than the existing UK.
When Scotland becomes independent, it will cause many in the north to question their constitutional status and it will bring the unification of Ireland closer. Already there has been a rush for Irish passports, even from people in the unionist community. Who could have imagined Ian Paisley junior encouraging people to get Irish passports?
When the UK leaves the EU, the English language will have a significantly reduced status in the EU. English will be the main language of only six million people, less than Dutch, Hungarian, Romanian, Polish, Portuguese and other languages. Having worked in the European Commission in Luxembourg I have seen that a national language being used inside the corridors of power is far more important for an EU Member State than having its flag flying outside. Ireland is lucky to have Irish as an official language of the EU. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus and Luxembourg are overlooked due to sharing official languages with other Member States. The Irish government would be wise to use Article 8.3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann and declare Irish as the only language it will use when dealing with the EU.
Lastly, the exit of the UK will allow Ireland to improve its independence. For too long Irish businesses exported to the UK and did not expand into other markets on mainland Europe. With the UK out of the single market, Irish businesses can focus on countries in the single market and the euro zone. They will have less bureaucracy and currency differences to overcome by doing business with the EU states rather than with Britain.
Since joining the EEC, the Irish government often let the UK government do the heavy lifting regarding policies and then supported the UK’s positions at the Council of Ministers. With the UK gone, Ireland will have to take clearer positions and contribute more to policy formation. This will increase Ireland’s independence.
Things are looking bright for Ireland.
Seanán Ó Coistín