‘The British Proposals re Brexit’ by Joe McVeigh


The decision of the British government to hold a referendum in 2016 re their membership of the EU was taken without regard for the implications for the peace process in Ireland and the sensitivity about the issue of the border which was imposed on Ireland in 1920. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, people had become used to free travel and free trade within Ireland. That alone had greatly reduced tension and had built confidence in the whole peace process certainly among nationalists. The border was hardly noticed anymore. Along comes Brexit and the border in Ireland once again becomes an issue of immense significance. It is now, after all, the only land border between the European Union and the UK. The whole purpose of the referendum re the EU was to stop the free flow of immigrants into Britain. In the words of the right wing racists who argued for it –‘to take back control of our borders.’ The border in Ireland has become once again significant since it may be used as a back-door into Britain. How are they going to monitor the 300 roads that cross the border which runs from Derry to Newry? In the British wish list they say that it can be done by the security which is already in place.


The British proposals for dealing with the Border in Ireland post Brexit in 2019 are far from satisfactory. They are not realistic since they do not realise the harm that their decision to withdraw from the EU will do to the Irish economy as well as the social life of people living and farming in border areas. There is nothing imaginative in the proposals that would allay the fears of most people on this island. The focus is on maintaining the border within the island ofIreland. They state that they do not want to see any customs posts or technology at border crossings. They want to see the situation continue as it is within some kind of customs partnership. They state that they will rely on electronic mail to process cross border transport of goods.


The reality is that from a European point of view that border within Ireland will be an international border when Brexit is introduced. It will be the EU which will determine and decide what border controls are necessary to protect the EU- for example from food stuff and other goods imported cheaply from theUnited States into the UK under a new Trade Agreement. The UK will provide a market for the GMO produced food in the USA which is of inferior quality to the food produced here. In Europe there are more stringent standards re food and animal welfare than in the USA. Here all food must be able to be sourced and monitored. The EU negotiators could well insist on more stringent controls along the border- and there’s nothing the British government can do about it.Dublin will also have to comply since they will continue to be a member of the EU. The re-imposed border will, of course, be welcome by the smuggling fraternity-and it will also please the DUP and their hard-line grass-roots who argued for and voted for withdrawal from Europe.


A more imaginative approach is needed to avoid the imposition of border controls from Derry to Newry. It would involve the transfer of sovereignty fromLondon to Dublin and recognition of the border around Ireland rather than through the middle of it. That would allow the northeast six counties to remain inEurope and it would protect the Good Friday Agreement which is an international agreement. That Agreement recognised the will of the people in the six counties as paramount in Ireland. This Northern six county statelet is different from any other part of the UK. That fact has already been recognised by the British government when they signed up to the Good Friday agreement. The Irish government has already a formal role in the government of the north. There is already in place a form of joint sovereignty. It is time for Dublin to produce a more imaginative approach and along with the friends in the EU to insist on the British accepting a new legal framework whereby sovereignty is transferred from Westminster to Dublin. It is time the British listened to us – for a change.


26 Responses to ‘The British Proposals re Brexit’ by Joe McVeigh

  1. Tam August 19, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    What are the “implications for the peace process in Ireland”? Who is threatening a return to violence?

    Joe says “Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, people had become used to free travel and free trade within Ireland”, yet there has always been free travel (apart from during the Second World War) and customs checks have been absent since 1993.

  2. Tam August 19, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    A border between NI and GB would be a breach of the GFA not a ‘protection’ of it!

    • huge Celt. August 20, 2017 at 11:28 pm #

      How many breaches of the GFA have there already been?

      It’s dead. Deceased. No more.

      The DUPers and the Shinners might drag it’s sorry carcass around for one more clown routine at the circus, but it remains a corpse.

      • Tam August 21, 2017 at 7:27 am #

        You tell us how many breaches there have been.

  3. fiosrach August 19, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    As long as the Conservative party are shackled to the DUP there will be no imaginative solution to the British imposed border. Having said that, I don’t have much faith in any brain activity from the Labour Party either. The commemoration programmes shown by BBC this week about the partition of India are very enlightening. The British Imperialists decided to split the sub continent into religious states and in doing so caused the displacement of fifteen million people and the deaths of over one million. People who had lived together peacefully for centuries were now at each other’s throats. Of course this was always the case but the peace loving British kept the warring tribes apart. Move on to Mesopotamia and other areas where the British (and others) deliberately fuelled inter community strife to weaken their colonies just before they fled. Is it any wonder that they are regarded with suspicion in most corners of the Earth? Is this a racist viewpoint? Do we want types like this in the governance of our country?

    • Tam August 19, 2017 at 10:06 am #

      The border wasn’t imposed by ‘the British’ but by Irish nationalists who wanted to break up the UK.

      In India, Muslims wanted their own state. It was their choice not a British imposition.

      • fiosrach August 19, 2017 at 11:14 am #

        A blindfold has been removed from my eyes. All these years I have laboured under the misapprehension that the Britishers imposed a border in a country not belonging to them, by force of arms and threat of war and have defended it militarily since. Solely to protect the rump of their colonists living in said other country. How foolish I feel. Thank you, tam.

      • Ceannaire August 19, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

        Utter nonsense!

        The border was Britain’s idea, not Irish Nationalist’s. The border was imposed by Britain (by the threat of war), not by Irish Nationalists. The border has been maintained by Britain, not by Irish Nationalists. Britain wants to keep the border; Irish Nationalists don’t.

        • Tam August 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

          But there was no border while the British Isles were united. It was created to facilitate their desire to divide the U.K..

          Are you saying nationalists want to reunite the British Isles in order to get rid of the border?

  4. Eolach August 19, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    Tam, apart from your twisted and illogical interpretation of history , you seem to imply that Britain had a right to be raping and murdering throughout the world….. they hadn’t. Maybe one day your ” rose tinted ” binoculars will slip a little and reality will appear. That day is fast approaching for a lot of ” head in the sand Unionists “and confronting that truth will be a disturbing epiphany for them. Britain has few compensating good points…. she has murdered billions, sent many millions of children to their premature graves , she has an inglorious and besmirched history…. the envy of none.

    • Tam August 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

      I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, I’m aftaid. Your post doesn’t seem to bear any relevance to the subject. Are you on the right thread?

      • Jams O'Donnell August 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

        Wow! I didn’t think they made blinkers like your any more. Better hold onto them – they’ll be valuable antiques some day (not too far distant at that).

        • Tam August 19, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

          If you’ve a point to make, go ahead.

          • Jams O'Donnell August 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

            You would have to take the blinkers off first before my reply would make any sense to you, and I see no evidence (from your other posts) that you are either able or willing to do that.

          • Tam August 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

            You’ve nothing of relevance to say, then.

            That’s what I expected


  5. Cal August 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    Britain is using the north as a bargaining chip to gain concessions. London’s opposition to special status for the north is all about acquiring that special status for all the U.K. They’re threatening the peace process for their own economic gain.

    • Tam August 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

      Britain is threatening the peace process?? What are they going to do?

      The paranoia and conspiracy theories on here are a hoot.

    • Jams O'Donnell August 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

      That’s what I expected of you too.

  6. Eolach August 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    Simply pointing out facts Tam, but nothing for you to worry about…..you continue in your mittyesque trance and we’ll give you a shout when Ireland’s reunited.

    • Tam August 19, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

      Pointing out irrelevant ‘facts’ serves no purpose.

      • fiosrach August 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

        Why do you keep calling it the ‘British Isles’, Tam. I find it very offensive. It’s the British and Irish isles. The British don’t even occupy it all now. Why not call,it the British Protectorate overseas?

      • M M August 20, 2017 at 12:09 am #

        Away and troll somewhere else Tam. As it was pointed out before, come back when we’re reunited.

  7. gaz August 20, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

    Think Joe like most Nationalists you are disappointed that the Big Bad Brits are not to going for full Border Controls-That’s the idea of leaving the EU-you get to choose what you want to do-The 26 County State has as usual outsourced its position on the border to the EU-and will end up meekly accepting what the EU-aka France-Germany axis -decides.If they accepted bailing out the Bondholders they will accept anything-Meanwhile lightweight Leo contents himself by promoting LGBT rights in Canada.

  8. Tam August 21, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    Still waiting for Joe to tell us what are the “implications for the peace process in Ireland” and who is threatening a return to violence.

    • Tam August 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

      Joe? Are you there? Joe?

      • giordanobruno August 21, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

        Good luck getting any conversation from Joe. He is very shy!