Belfast Telegraph

US novelist Bonnie Greer tells Question Time that America won't allow Britain to 'shaft' Ireland

Bonnie Greer on Question Time
Bonnie Greer on Question Time

Bonnie Greer has warned the UK that they cannot "shaft" Ireland if they want a post-Brexit trade agreement with the United States.

The American novelist was speaking on the BBC's Question Time on Thursday, where she discussed her issues with British attitudes around Ireland as the official Brexit date approaches.

"At times, I hear people talking as if this country owns Ireland," she said.

"Ireland owes this country nothing. Ireland owes this country no concessions, it owes it no quarter, it owes it nothing," she added.

The Question Time panel was discussing potential trade deals between the UK and the US following Britain's departure from the EU.

Ms Greer, a columnist for the New European newspaper, said the potential deal, which would affect Irish trade, would not float in the US where "people are very serious about Ireland".

"The Good Friday Agreement is a truce because the United State of America and the EU sat down with these countries to make it happen," she said.

"We have to be more serious about this. The United States is Irish. Anybody thinks that they're going to get a deal through and have a trade relationship with the US that shafts Ireland, you've got another thing coming. It's not going to happen.

"I'm from Chicago, that's where I was born. Do you know what we do on St Patrick's Day? We dye the river green. People are very serious about Ireland in the US. Don't mess with it. Don't make it look bad."

Ms Greer later addressed an audience member who berated her for suggesting it is "bad being a foreigner in this country right now" while she discussed "racially motivated" attacks on Meghan Markle.

"I have a friend who is Polish, she's lived here since about 2000. Her little girl was born here and she doesn't speak Polish to her anymore on the bus or the Tube because people abuse her," said Ms Greer.

"She can't speak Polish to her daughter in public because she's maligned and hassled. That's why she doesn't do it. Her daughter's losing her maternal language because her mother isn't speaking to her anymore in public."

The man in the audience repeated that he disagreed with Ms Greer, to which she replied: "I said right now it's hard to be a foreigner in this country. You're not, I am and I know what it's about."

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