The Hard Place


Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe at government buildings this afternoon

…Earlier, Mr Schinas [European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas] said he had heard nothing new since British Prime Minister Theresa May laid out a tweaked divorce plan yesterday.

If you’d like me to push me and speculate on what might happen in a no-deal scenario in Ireland, I think it is pretty obvious: you will have a hard border,” he said.

Mr Schinas also expressed frustration as journalists questioned him over the next steps in the negotiation.

“In all honesty, I have a terrible sense of déjà vu in all these exchanges,” he said. “There is nothing else that I can meaningfully say.”

‘Difficult’ to prevent border infrastructure without withdrawal agreement (RTÉ)



36 thoughts on “The Hard Place

  1. Baz

    Leo & Simon caught with their pants around their ankles, having done the whipping of Britain at the behest of Europe they now stand isolated. Europe has stabbed Ireland in the back.
    Ireland soon to be crawling with cap in hand to the UK.

    So badly played our hand.

    utter failure.

      1. Baz

        you seem to have an issue with my distillation. care to challenge the points made? nah, you were reared a rote learner, you take your spoon fed analysis from the right sources and pretend to be informed. best of luck.

        1. millie st murderlark

          Why so argumentative?

          You’re literally attacking any commenter who disagrees with you or makes a point contrary to yours – whether it’s directed at you or not.

          Have a cup of tea or something.

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    He’s right – a porous border is just unfeasible for a boundary between the EU and the UK. I just hope it’s operated by the former, and not by a returning occupying army…

    1. Baz

      if the EU is so concerned about borders why no border enforcement on the shores of Greece and Italy?
      Why are Hungary and Poland rebuked by the EU for protecting their borders?

      Which is it?

          1. Ciuncainteach

            It isn’t a contradiction however, as the EU’s concern with borders in this specific context is over security, tarrifs, and protecting the integrity of the single market.


  3. nilbert

    The agreement reached between the EU and the UK in December 2017 stated that, in the absence of another solution for the Border, Northern Ireland would effectively remain within the EU customs union.

    Is the above a statement from the EU, or just the brain fart of a Commissioner?

    1. Eoin

      That statement in Dec 2017 had constructive ambiguity which wasn’t addressed at the time, art 49 clearly conflicted with art 50. In the absence of an agreement, which is it, art 49 or art 50?

      “49. The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to
      its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible
      with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve
      these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible,
      the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique
      circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United
      Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the
      Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the allisland
      economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.
      50. In the absence of agreed solutions, as set out in the previous paragraph, the United
      Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern
      Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unless, consistent with the 1998
      Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree that distinct
      arrangements are appropriate for Northern Ireland. In all circumstances, the United
      Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s
      businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom internal market. “

      1. nilbert

        thanks, that’s very interesting. ‘Constructive Ambuiguity’ is a fantastical concept, …It really requires that people are genuinely acting towards a common purpose, as with the GFA (DUP nothwithstanding). In the case of Brexit, it was really just an act of political expedience at the time. Now, in a much more contentious environment, its a big fat hairy turkey come home to roost.

        1. Eoin

          “Constructive ambiguity” works both ways though.

          Ireland can correctly say to our partners in the EU that there already an agreement, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to maintain ” full alignment [between Northern Ireland and the Republic] with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union”

          Of course, this presents an impossibility for the EU if there is also alignment between NI/GB, under Article 50. Sad to see Coveney buckle so quickly though today. We should never have sent a boy out to do a man’s job.

    2. Otis Blue

      The thing is an agreement wasn’t reached then. It was just a proposed Withdrawal Agreement; one which May cannot now get backing for.

      The Commission spokesman is only stating the obvious in that No Deal will inevitably lead to a hard border. The backstop was a legitimate means to mitigate this prospect through ensuring regulatory alignment on the Island. No Deal renders this irrelevant.

      No Deal is the current default position and appears likely unless the Brits concede on their red lines. For the EU to do so would compromise its four fundamental freedoms – the guarantee of the free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour between its members states.

    1. realPolithicks

      Whatever about people in the north, do you think people in the south would vote for unification?

      1. Jake38

        Touché. Does anyone really want to pay more taxes to subsidize the lifestyles of a disgruntled unionist population?

        1. Spaghetti Hoop

          They could become like the Amish community; benign, removed from society and permanently living in 1690.

      2. Spaghetti Hoop

        If there were some ‘structural’ or ‘assistance’ funds forthcoming from Brussels I would say yes, most definitely.

        1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

          Exactly! That’s what they said about Brexit and look at that shining beacon of erm, I can’t think of a suitable word…

      3. realPolithicks

        I don’t live in Ireland so I don’t get a say, but if I did I feel that people north of the border need to figure out how to live together before being invited to share their issues south of the border.

        1. Mike

          Oh sweet Jesus yes!
          Full reunification won’t sell up North. It’ll be some legal work-around like an Irish Federation of which the ROI and NI are parts. NI has been culturally different to the ROI for a few hundred years. 100 years of living within the UK will have caused more divergence. They will always need their own Stormont. Arlene will sooner don a camogie kit and score 2 goals and 4 points in Croke Park than rock up in Dail Eireann. Personally I’d say she’s lethal under a high-ball…

          The current assembly can collapse and default back to London.
          It cannot happen post unification that it defaults to Dublin – they’d never allow that.
          It would be better for NI AND the ROI if these were kept separate.

          1. scottser

            can we not just invade the isle of man and ‘assertively invite’ brexity northern folk to relocate there?

  4. GiggidyGoo

    Sure isn’t that a great little proposed backstop altogether.

    I wonder will the FGers be able to improve on the time that it takes to out their own lies. This took just over three/four days. Who will break the record.

    Leo, like Kenny before him shown up again as the EUs stooge. Happy 40th.

  5. Ron

    It’s not like you weren’t all told this would happen. Incompetent, inept charlatans. Varadkars lack of diplomatic experience and experience in general always meant he was liability. It’s all about a big job for him in Europe after the next General Election. He will sell Ireland out for that.

  6. neil

    will there be a hard border in the channel tunnel ? It is a land border after all, or will the French brick it up!

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