Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Brexit may threaten us with the 'worst of times', so let's look to our sporting heroes to provide us with the best

Rory Best
Rory Best

Editor's Viewpoint

Charles Dickens, in his novel A Tale of Two Cities, used words that have a modern ring this weekend. It is the "the worst of times" given the uncertainty and apprehension over Brexit, but it is "the best of times" on the sporting front.

The warnings are coming thick and fast about a no-deal exit from the EU. Many people dismiss it as scaremongering, but those talking of the dangers cannot all be wrong.

The latest warnings locally come from those well-placed to anticipate the consequences of a disorderly exit. They include Kevin Kingston, CEO of Danske Bank, who warns of the dire economic consequences, and the board of Invest NI, which is deeply worried about the unpreparedness of local businesses for such a development.

How fortunate we are, therefore, to rejoice in our sporting riches. Earlier this week there was a spectacular gala launch night for The Open, which will grace Royal Portrush in July.

This huge occasion will bring contestants and spectators from many parts of the world, as well as providing a showcase opportunity for some of our own stars, including Rory McIlroy. There will also be benefits for many people off the golf-course, including property owners and agencies charging astronomical rents of up to £25,000 along the north coast during Open week.

This weekend it is the turn of the magnificent Irish rugby team, with captain Rory Best and others making a major contribution from Ulster.

We have so many other sporting heroes, from football to snooker and athletics, and Ireland's ladies' hockey team. There is no doubt that, in sport, we punch well above our weight, and we should rightly be proud of this.

With Brexit seemingly going to the wire and causing fear and uncertainty, it is refreshing to see that we can still take our place on the world sporting stage, and later this year The Open will underline this, as well as helping the local economy.

However, first things first, and a win by Ireland today in Dublin would get us off to an excellent start.

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