Ireland’s Berlin Wall

February 12, 2017

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has met with Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo. He got no support from Beata Szydlo in his quest for Ireland to be given special status in coming Brexit negotiations.

In his belief that Ireland must be imaginative re its response to Brexit, it might have been useful to visit Poland’s border with the Ukraine. Delays of up to 4 hours for border control for those travelling by train between both countries.

Depending on the purpose of visit,  the vehicle you are travelling in,  papers carried, security checks, crossing the border might take an hour or so; or you might need to join the lengthy kilometers long grid lock of vehicles that appears not to move at all and is worse than Calais.

Construction and manning of these border control check points perhaps Kenny might have an imaginative word …”former head of the European Commission’s customs procedures has told MPs. Michael Lux told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that customs controls on the Border will be unavoidable if the United Kingdom leaves the EU customs union after Brexit”(1)

Crossing the Polish border into Ukraine you have to pass through the Polish border then the Ukraine border. Smuggling of goods particularly cigarettes are big issues. Perhaps Poland’s refusal to accept refugees is also an issue.

If Kenny is soft on the border between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland could Ireland become a mecca for refugees fleeing Calais. Border patrols on our coastline would have to be stepped up to combat people smuggling and a growing refugee crisis in Southern Ireland may require special European funding arrangements.

People smugglers may resort to parachuting in their delivery of human cargo by night.

By day boats ill-suited to Mediterranean waters may navigate dangerous waters hoping to reach Southern Ireland before crossing over to Northern Ireland.

It would appear inevitable that a wall will need to be built.border-fence-cartoon

The cost of this wall could be astronomical. Much resentment would be felt by many pointing to our…. housing and homelessness crisis.

Walls have a habit of keeping people in as well as keeping people out. At current rates and if further devaluations occur brought about to make the UK economy even more competitive, the thousands travelling north on an hourly basis to stock up on lower price goods, could be delayed at the border, then further delayed on way back to process import duties and other checks….

2. Currently about one out of every 4 litres of milk consumed in the south comes from Northern Ireland amounting to over 600 million litres per year.

That’s a lot of trucks requiring paperwork sensitive to any delay or waiting game.

“IFA chief economist Rowena Dwyer broke down Ireland’s relationship with the UK in numbers at the IFA’s briefing on Brexit recently. 50% of Ireland’s total beef exports goes to the UK, followed by one-third of our total dairy exports. With the UK leaving the EU, a drop in Irish exports of between €150m to €800m can be expected.”(3)

With the collateral damage of border controls I believe the figures above are vastly understated. But it’s not only border controls at Norther Ireland its border controls at points of embarkation/demarcation between Ireland and the UK in general border crossing points both at land and sea.

Currently within the Irish media or at a political level in spite of the abjuration of Enda Kenny there is no imaginative or otherwise setting down of the precise implications of Brexit. A small group led by Kenny himself is handling Brexit.

We’ve had a cabinet setting up of an all-Ireland dialogue on Brexit but nothing concrete has emerged. Its imagined that Kenny is visiting fellow EU leaders to drum up support for Ireland’s special position in regard to Brexit.

But perhaps no one apart from Kenny knows what Ireland’s special position on Brexit amounts to? Is Kenny asking that a standing army of customs officials, construction companies, be provided by the EMU to police Ireland’s new borders with the UK, for free?

 

On the face of there are no plans other than to bury the head in the sand and hope for the best. Kenny is about to bow out of politics so the fall out wont effect him much, but it will affect the rest of us.

So let’s answer Kenny’s call for us to be imaginative. Let’s demand answers that put down on the table what exactly will happen with Brexit and what the fallout will be for each Mary and Joe citizen living on this island.

The only way to effectively do this is to call a referendum on IRexit to give each citizen in the Republic a vote on whether to stay in the EU or leave. There are profound implications which should force the facts to the surface and allow each citizen to make their choice.

One imaginative solution if Irexit was chosen would be to consider the Cyrpus situation. Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus has been an issue since 1974. In recent years the following proposed solution is emerging:

“The UN plan for settlement (Annan Plan)

'Sorry! I've changed my mind.'

‘Sorry! I’ve changed my mind.’

Under the final proposals, the Republic of Cyprus would become the United Cyprus Republic. It would be a loose federation composed of two component states. The northern Turkish Cypriot constituent state would encompass about 28.5% of the island, the southern Greek Cypriot constituent state would be made up of the remaining 71.5%. Each part would have had its own parliament. There would also be a bicameral parliament on the federal level. In the Chamber of Deputies, the Turkish Cypriots would have 25% of the seats. (While no accurate figures are currently available, the split between the two communities at independence in 1960 was approximately 80:20 in favour of the Greek Cypriots.) The Senate would consist of equal parts of members of each ethnic group. Executive power would be vested in a presidential council. The chairmanship of this council would rotate between the communities. Each community would also have the right to veto all legislation”

The US, the UN, UK and IR have all had deep involvement in finding solution for the conflict in Northern Ireland.

One solution would be for this island instead of building walls to adopt a solution along similar lines to the Annan Plan above. Ireland would form itself into a loose confederacy of states with Scotland, Wales and England operating under a similar umbrella of trade, legal, constitutional and social. Instead of this island being the Irish Republic, it would change to The United Ireland Republic.

Surely the above road is better than a road that promises imminent collapse of our banks, destruction of our social services, ruination of our agri industry, all to make this a smugglers paradise or Pirate Island for foolish politicians…..

Postscript

There needs to be a criminal investigation led by an external police authority outside this country to pursue those who engineered and executed the dirty tricks campaign mounted against whistle blowers including Garda McCable that has lasted for many years corrosively in An Garda Siochana covered up with inaction from the Department of Justice and now spread to other state organisations.

The handling of the above by this Fine Gael led governent rivals the incoherent way it has approached and currently prepares for Brexit. There is no reason to assume the incoherent opposition led by FF will in any way improve on matters.

 

Till again…………….

 

  1.  http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/may-s-border-promises-are-nice-words-says-ex-eu-customs-head-1.2959694
  2. http://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/ireland-set-to-import-record-levels-of-milk-in-2015/
  3. http://www.farmersjournal.ie/implications-for-irish-agriculture-if-british-cast-a-brexit-ballot-212787
  4. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/cabinet-sets-up-all-ireland-group-to-prepare-for-brexit-1.2816034

IRexit

January 23, 2017

Listening to Ireland’s pitch for financial services located in London to locate in Dublin following Brexit  must be like listening to the German government during World War 1 or WW11 pitching to non participants in the conflict to set up embassies  located somewhere near the Maginot or Siegfried lines of national defence just as the shells begin to fall. (1)

Eoghan Murphy minister for state (for Brexit) asked on Morning Ireland 23.01.17 if he was asked during his pitches  at various forums around the world trips at taxpayers expense if property prices in Ireland would pose a problem, stated that the subject was not raised once. I humbly suggest the reason for this was that no one in their right mind was contemplating relocating to Dublin.(1a)

Falling land prices make the price of an average dwelling in the Dublin suburb is similar to the price of a 50 acre farm outside Dublin.

This is before Brexit will wipe out 50% of exports to UK of agri-production with UK opportunities to outsource their requirements at lower prices perhaps in new trade deals with Brazil/New Zealand et al.

With English the universal language of commerce, science and financial services the value of Ireland being English-speaking is moot.

(2) “Frankfurt

On mainland Europe, Germany’s financial district would be an obvious choice to replace London – and has the added global reach that Dublin lacks, UBS said.

Already home to the European Central Bank, the Bundesbank and several global financial services firms such as Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, the EU’s biggest economy is well primed to pick up where London might leave off, despite having stricter labour laws than the UK.

The city is already preparing for an influx of 10,000 or so bankers over the next five years – and those from London can look forward to cheaper living costs and shorter commutes.

Frankfurt also boasts the third-largest airport in the EU, with excellent transport connections across the world, and has an office vacancy rate twice that of Dublin at around 12pc, with half a million square metres of work space available in the city centre. ”

Both Amsterdam and Paris are contenders having short hops to London and Frankfurt and good infrastructure.

Dublin in the austerity grip of disappearing public services, greater political upheaval potential as the divide between rich and poor increases, looming turmoil especially in the agriculture sector due to repossessions as yields fall because of Brexit, is not an attractive venue following the triggering of Brexit under article 50.

(2) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/news/which-cities-could-replace-london-as-europes-financial-centre–a/

Preparations for Brexit are personalised in Ireland around the dictated orders of the european_dis_integration__alexander_dubovskyDepartment of An Taoiseach:

“Yet the taoiseach and his secretary general Martin Fraser have kept firm control of Brexit policy, and appointed John Callinan, another civil servant with Brussels experience, as second secretary in Government Buildings. They set up a Brexit cabinet subcommittee under the chairmanship of Kenny and including several senior ministers. A Brexit working group is chaired by Fraser and includes top officials from the departments of foreign affairs, finance and public expenditure, as well as the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, the attorney general’s office and other agencies” (Sunday Times, 22.01.17 P8)

In one way it makes sense to have the Taoiseach lead negotiations over Brexit as when the Irish economy begins to splutter and shut down and the smugglers’ Black economy between north and south grows, held together by the illicit sale of smuggled cigarettes and cheap agricultural produce defying new border controls, Kenny can be slipped into retirement.

But it looks like the above group is a waste of time, effort and money. Better use could be made of the group sourcing new markets for Irish exports, negotiating directly with a committee from the UK parliament on common needs.

In the wake of the financial collapse of the economic project of the EU that has led to Brexit, the collapse of peripheral economies across Europe, banking collapse dangers in Italy, a collapse that will be further consolidated by emigration policies and further austerity with imminent closure of Irish corporation tax loopholes, we should ignore An Taoiseach’s efforts over Brexit tilting at windmills as apparently he is also ignored across Europe.

If unfortunately we choose to stay as appears to be the case perhaps the above group can produce a report of the effects of Brexit for Ireland, how Europe will compensate Ireland for such losses. Such pertinent questions will not be mooted by Ireland’s swans as they swim in the vast and resplendent halls of Val Halla,  in Brussels…at taxpayers expense.

If we had even the semblence of a true democracy in Ireland given the implications of Brexit for Ireland, results should be put before the people in a referendum for Irexit.

Europe has failed having fallen victim to the abuse of global financial services that may lead to global collapse of the financial services industry…but that is a topic for another day.

Visiting London not so long ago, I was surprised by the vast number of cranes across the centre of London, the vast numbers of tourists, the UK economy filled with positive energy was far from collapse.

(1) http://general-history.com/the-siegfried-and-maginot-lines-similarities-and-differences/

(1a) http://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/minister-urges-assertiveness-to-attract-post-brexit-business-1.2946870