Belfast Telegraph

Card to EU leader a personal thank you from Irish citizen

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker showed Irish premier Leo Varadkar the card during a Brussels meeting.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, left, and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (Michelle Devane/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, left, and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (Michelle Devane/PA)

The Irish woman who sent a thank you card to the EU Commission president said she did so because she was worried about what would happen to Ireland post-Brexit.

Speaking on RTE Radio, Haley, who did not want to give her last name, said she decide to write to Jean-Claude Juncker to tell him how appreciative she was as an Irish person to have Europe’s backing in the Brexit negotiations.

The Clare woman told Joe Duffy’s Liveline programme that she sent the card shortly after the vote in the House of Commons when the EU was speaking about it in the parliament afterwards.

But she said she had no idea the card, the front of which read “thank you from Ireland”, would end up featuring in the international press.

“I sent it because I kinda was worried at the time when Britain were talking about going back to re-negotiations, I was afraid that Ireland would be made to give in,” she said.

“The president of the European Parliament stood up and he said, you know, Ireland’s borders are Europe’s borders and, as I said in the card, I literally wanted to jump for joy because I knew at that point that we had the support of Europe and that nothing was going to change.

“It was a relief to be honest.”

Images of the large green card hit the headlines during the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s visit to Brussels on Wednesday when Mr Juncker showed Mr Varadkar it during a meeting between the two leaders.

Inside, the card read: “Mr Juncker, I will be honest I never really understood the EU. It was something we learned about in school, a part of history, more than a part of today. But your five words: Ireland’s borders are Europe’s borders made me want to jump for joy, punch my hands in the air and kiss you.

It continued: “For the first time ever Ireland is stronger than Britain. That strength comes not from guns or bombs. It comes from your words, and that of your colleagues.”

“Britain does not care about peace in Northern Ireland. To them it’s a nuisance.”

It was signed Haley, Dave, Scooby and Little Boo.

She said the EU Commission president would have received it a couple of days before Mr Varadkar’s trip.

Most people presumed the Taoiseach had given him the card when the two leaders were pictured with it.

But she said there was no agenda behind the card and it was complete coincidence that Mr Juncker received it the same week as Mr Varadkar’s trip.

“I’m not in politics and I have absolutely no agenda,” she said.

“I’m literally just one person in Ireland. As I said the card is from a family in Ireland. It literally is me, my husband and my two dogs. I just wrote down the dogs’ names because that’s what dog lovers do.”

PA

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