Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

The DUP stance on Brexit does more to jeopardise the Union than anything that has gone before

Letter of the day: eu negotiations

I write to express my dismay at the politics of Northern Ireland. I am an academic exile working in Scotland, but I share my background with Arlene Foster and went to school with Nigel Dodds, so I know the border area well.

That said, it does not take great knowledge of the border to see the impending doom that Brexit heralds. While a clear majority in Northern Ireland voted against Brexit, there is just one local MP in Westminster opposing it.

This shocking travesty of democracy is reflected by the pettiness blocking the restoration of the Assembly.

Sinn Fein were not elected to Westminster to support a hard Brexit, but that is what they are doing by their absence.

This pales into insignificance when one considers the DUP and the likes of Lord Trimble and their blind dislike of all things European.

With membership of the EU, Northern Ireland was more secure than it ever had been in the UK, despite the impending demographic switch.

Overnight, with Brexit, this has switched to a tight balance that will surely switch to Sinn Fein in the coming years. Just look at the voting trends in the last Assembly election.

Underlying Brexit is simple logic that means the position of the DUP is a contradiction. They say they want no hard border in Ireland, no border in the Irish Sea and they want the UK to fully leave the EU. This is just not possible. How can Dundalk and Newry be different to Calais and Dover?

Tariffs and restrictions, or shortcuts for SMEs, must be the same, independent of the route from the EU to the UK. If there is a hard border between England and France, there must be one in Ireland or, failing that, in the Irish Sea. That is hardly strengthening the Union.

There is nothing more that anyone has done in the last 90 years to weaken the Union than the DUP has done on this issue, both in Northern Ireland and through its interactions with Brexit organisations in GB, channelling funds that might not have been used otherwise.

You have to ask, why on earth are the DUP grandstanding so much on Brexit? Perhaps they are trying to hide their folly; I fear they just do not see it.

professor John t s irvine


Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph