Former Taoiseach rejects UK think-tank’s proposal for ‘Irexit’ from EU

Last Updated: April 2, 2018

Amid mounting speculation about Brexit impact on Ireland, a UK think tank has suggested that the country follow Britain’s example and ‘Irexit’ the EU.

brexit impact on ireland
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As speculation mounts about Brexit impact on Ireland, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rebuffed a UK group’s suggestion that Ireland should consider ‘Irexit’ from the EU.

The influential group, Policy Exchange, suggests Ireland and the UK could remain in a customs and free-trade area, and negotiate trade & investment terms with the remaining EU states.

According to PA, Enda Kenny, recently succeeded as Taoiseach by Leo Varadkar, said that EU membership was the foundation of Ireland’s prosperity and the bedrock of its modern society.

“For Ireland, there is really no upside to Brexit…”

However, the document, drawn up by former Irish diplomat and commentator Ray Bassett, insists that staying in the EU would demand a huge price of Ireland.

“Simply sitting on the sidelines and allowing the EU to negotiate for Ireland is essentially untenable,” the Policy Exchange document states.

“For Ireland,” the document starkly adds, “there is really no upside to Brexit.”

Policy Exchange’s position in relation to Brexit impact on Ireland pinpoints a fundamental and untenable contradiction. The group insists that Ireland’s interests in a deal that accommodates free trade with the UK are in “direct contradiction” with EU negotiators. The EU position holds that Ireland and its border must “maintain the integrity of the Union’s legal order, i.e., no exceptions to the customs union”.

The group’s document outlines three primary rationale for its ‘Irexit’ recommendation. First is the view that access to the Single Market need not be synonymous with full EU membership. Second, the EU is, according to the group, facing “huge problems” and the future direction of the Union would be unlikely to tally with Irish interest. Third, the DUP’s central role in Brexit negotiations as part of its new relationship with the Conservative UK Government should “facilitate strong cooperation across Ireland”.

However, former Taoiseach Mr Kenny’s comments and a recent poll suggest that the majority of Irish people would be in opposition to Policy Exchange’s ‘Irexit’ suggestion.

In the poll, 88 percent of respondents thought Ireland should stay in the EU, according to PA.