The Irish Government would have itself to blame in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The Irish Government would have itself to blame in the event of a no-deal Brexit

In the past few weeks I’ve not been subtle in my criticism of Leo Varadkar’s approach to Brexit. Some media outlets have delightedly praised Varadkar for his jibes at Theresa May and her Cabinet – a Cabinet that was yesterday referred to as “the worst in recorded history” by Nick Boles. However, I don’t hold the same opinion as Varadkar and the journalists more than happy to promote his perceived candour.

Dublin City University’s Brexit Institute released a study last month which warned that Anglo-Irish relations are now as low as they were during the IRA hunger strikes in 1981. I have no doubt the Taoiseach’s approach has had some impact on these relations. Furthermore, now he has to deal with Jeremy Corbyn who might just prove a more contentious opponent for the ardently European Taoiseach.

Theresa May’s revelation that she will now engage in cross-party talks with Mr. Corbyn is not good news for the Irish. Jeremy Corbyn is an extreme Marxist and someone who has shown a flippancy that is cause for serious concern. What has he brought to the table so far in the Brexit saga? Previously he has refused to work with the Conservatives to find a suitable deal for the British people, while now he is at the epicentre of one of the most important political decisions in the last 40 years.

The Labour Party has fallen apart under his guidance; forget growing memberships and their leader’s popularity with young voters – Labour have failed to propose any real economic, social or democratic programmes that would revitalise the nation. Much like the democratic deficit within the European Union, Corbyn’s Labour has a bark which is far greater than its bite. There is nothing to say that these cross-party talks take No Deal off the table.

While No Deal is not the worst outcome for most Leave voters, it is an outcome that should cause trepidation for Leo Varadkar. As Peter Foster pointed out yesterday, the Irish government is dead set on protecting the Single Market and avoiding being brought out of it by a no-deal scenario. However, is this possible now or is it too late?

Varadkar’s Deputy, Simon Coveney, insists we are “not going to allow a situation where the UK leaving the European Union without a deal drags Ireland out of the Single Market with it. What I mean by that is checks in EU ports on all Irish products, that is not a runner and would cause significant damage to our economy so we will not allow it.”

Sadly for Coveney and Co., this may not be possible. Even with President Macron’s promise that France will “will never abandon, no matter what, Ireland and the Irish”. In the event of No Deal, they may be forced to abandon Ireland to the detriment of our economy.

Who is to blame if No Deal is the outcome? Forget bemoaning Sinn Fein for not taking their seven seats at Westminster – which they never have and never will; the Irish blame is with Leo Varadkar if there’s No Deal. Personally I will level the majority of the blame on Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney. Varadkar’s abrasive comments in January and jovial references to borders have now come to back to haunt him.

While No Deal seems favourable for any true Brexiteer, it is not in the Irish interest. However, we haven’t worked with the UK, we have stayed with the flock and kept up our commitment to Brussels. Now only time will tell if the EU will show us the same commitment in practice…