Leo Varadkar talks in a soft voice but he’s no pussycat. Judging by his recent comment on Brexit in Ireland ( or “on our island”, as he puts it), he’s more of a lion-heart.

For decades now, we’ve heard nothing about Irish-British relations but how good they are, never better, top drawer. As for Brexit, the south of Ireland would kinda straddle between the UK and the EU, pleading Britain’s case in Brussels. Sure what else would a good next-door neighbour do?

No more. “We’re not going to be helping them to design some sort of border that we don’t believe should exist in the first place” Leo says firmly.

Who would have thought the young man had so much fighting blood in him? An echo almost of Thatcher’s famous “U-turn if you want to; the lady’s not for turning.” The Brits can design their seamless, frictionless, high-tech, invisible border if they want to – nothing to do with us. We never wanted a border of any kind, economic or political….

No, you’re quite right, Virgina – I took a little liberty there. Leo didn’t say that last bit, he just kinda hinted at it, which is nearly as good: “…some sort of border that we don’t believe should exist in the first place.” It’s the economic border he’s talking about, not the political one. You don’t expect a Fine Gael Taoiseach to say he’s agin the border, now do you? That’d make them sound like…well, Shinners.

But we must be grateful for small mercies, and the economic and political, as we know, are bed-fellows. What do you think persuaded the Brits to leave the EU in the first place? A desire to take back power to make their own decisions and law, as well as decide who they wanted to trade with and who they’d let into their country. Very very silly, of course, but that was the idea.

But Leo’s idea that there simply shouldn’t be an economic border is eminently sensible – talk to anyone who does north-south or south-north business. The question is, can he make it stick? Well, Yes and No.

Yes, because the Brits simply don’t give a damn about our troublesome North-East Nest. We saw that when Theresa May did a tour of Scotland and Wales about Brexit, while finding time to give all of six hours to a visit here, much of it taken up by photo-opportunities. I’ve just read an article in The Observer titled “Border chaos will hit hard after Brexit, says report”, the report being an analysis conducted by the economic consultancy Oxera. How often did the Observer article mention”border chaos” for us? Five times? Three? UH-uh. Zilch. Let me spell it out. They.Don’t. Care.

So while the southern government and the Brits may have worked like Siamese twins during the Troubles to maintain the border, this time, Leo the Lion-hearted tells us, they won’t be getting the slightest help. You fancy a frictionless border? You produce one and we’ll tell you what we think.

Tough talk indeed. And talk that was considerably softened when he visited Belfast yesterday. Me want a border in the middle of the Irish Sea? No, no, no, no, that is not what I meant at all. But hard or soft it’s only talk, and that’s where we get to the No bit.

Who really believes that Leo won’t blink before the British Lion? Like it or not, Ireland north and south has historical economic links with Britain, and if the south tries to make life difficult for the Brits on the border here, you may be sure they in turn will have no compunctions about making life very difficult for the south in terms of trade with Britain.

None of that is to say that Leo isn’t right: we simply should not have an economic border in Ireland. Let the north, like the south, continue as though it were still in the EU, leaving Britain to use its ports as the border between Britain and the EU . As The Observer article makes clear, that’ll provide enough headaches on its own.

But there is a blue-bottle in the EU ointment and on its back are etched the letters D-U-P. Even though they know it’s self-harming to haul the north of Ireland out of the EU, DUP politicians will always put the link with Britain first. Britain’s going to suffer an economic blitzkrieg from Europe? Then let us share in it, cos we’re British too. Crazy talk? What kind of buck eejits hammer on the door of the House of Horrors and yells “Let us in, we want to have some too”?

The bitter truth is, the DUP doesn’t give a damn about the will of the people here in the north as expressed in the Brexit referendum. We’re loyal subjects, and to show you how loyal, we’re going to force Theresa May to go on thundering towards the Brexit cliff-edge. Anything else – like a weakening of the border economically, much less politically – would be an appalling vista.

There may be trouble ahead.




  1. Eolach August 5, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    The DUP are that enigma wrapped in a paradox…They appear intelligent enough , have a few degrees under their collective belt , but seem completely lacking in reasoning. Their main modus operandi suggests that they look at republicanism/nationalism see what they desire or are striving for and go ” Ah Ha , we’re against that ” no matter how advantageous it may be for their own electorate…..they are the model for that maxim ” cutting off your nose to spite your face “. I think they looked at Brexit…it suited their xenophobic racist traits and they saw instantly that a hard border was a feasible outcome…..that suits their ” OUR OWN WEE COUNTRY ” syndrome.
    Mr Varadkar seems to be slightly ambiguous is his pronouncements ….sea border yesterday , no border today….maybe an air border tomorrow. I have an antipathy for Free State politicians , I re-read everything they say several times and then reach for a large packet of salt. When I then read the complimentary appraisals in the press , alarm bells ring and ” a pig in a poke ” comes to mind…..But this time I’m prepared to wait and see ….someday I must be proven wrong!

    • huge Celt. August 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      With respect, Eolach, I think the DUP were fairly agnostic about Brexit.
      What swung it was the £435,000 of dirty money.

      English Nationalism has subsequently proven that they are more than happy to throw Gibraltar, Scotland and Narnia under the bus to give the EU a bloody nose.

      And now the DUPers have retreated into their bunker on the subject.

      The 6 Counties is up for grabs again in a way that has never been seen for 100 years.
      An unparalleled opportunity as the EU Empire now exacts retribution from a British Empire.

      It sort of begs the question, why did Sinn Fein urge a vote for the status quo.

    • ben madigan August 7, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

      @ Eolach – the DUP aren’t really an enigma. Here’s a plausible game plan of theirs


  2. Sherdy August 5, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    ‘But hard or soft, its only talk’.
    True, Leo had said from the safety of Dublin that he wasn’t going to help erect new borders, but yesterday at QUB he certainly offered a few suggestions as to how they might dig themselves out of the hole they voted themselves into!

  3. Cal August 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    The brits could put economic pressure on the south if Dublin gets tough on the border. That said, Dublin has 27 other Countries in their corner. I’d be slow to start an economic war if I was May.

  4. Stephen Kelly August 6, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    Leo Varadkar is a very articulate and fair minded man and i feel someone who i could give my vote to.because i am now a lapsed voter again and will have to bring bad news to the group of nineteen crocs lol who came of the benches to vote again and we agreed to give it to sinn feinn but after the disgraceful actions of Mickey Brady, the MP for Newry and Armagh, and his disguting support for Maduro and his dictatorial regime in Venezuea no way can i vote for sinn feinn if thats the type of person they put forward for election and Maduro is the type of person they can give any inkling of support to. Go to Venezuelan news and look up the news on the Narco state Venezuela look up the babies the children and men and women dying for the most basic medicines. Countries want to donate free medicine and he blocks it newspapers are nearly all shut down. Hundreds of young protesters slaughtered in the streets and the opposition imprisoned and Mickey Brady took their shilling to go and oversee an election that should never have taken place. Mickey Brady slept well ate well while the whole population is starving children in their thousands are suffering from malnutrition but Mickey Brady ate well election all ok then. Even the pope has asked this monster Maduro to please allow free elections and listen to the voice of the people just like Sinn Feinn want us to do. What the armed wing fought for REMEMBER Mickey. I will now show this to my children and their husbands and tell them at least their is the green party lol but no more two faced sinn feinn. those poor people how could sinn feinn allow this travesty. 40 countries protest and do not recognize Venezuela’s new assembly amid fraud accusations. But good old mickie brady mp and sinn feinn do. Enough said as they, say i will now carry forward to people i know sinn feinns new policy on starving and dying children and non democracy. Google is your friend look up Venezuela i am so angry with myself to have been suckered into voting for them. My children actually voted for him i think they will be sickened when i show them the dying babies of Venezuela or i didn’t raise them with a sense of right and wrong. Up the revolution Mickey Brady, MP for Newry and Armagh,.

    • Tam August 6, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      Sure they supported Castro too.

      And supported terror in NI.

      Why were you ever supporting them?

    • Wolfe tone August 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

      Stephen me thinks you are exaggerating the situation in Venezuela and with all due respect it seems you don’t fully understand the politics at play in that country and you could, God forbid, be reading some ‘fake news’ aka western propaganda of sorts?
      For example, I viewed a recent video, filmed by a US t.v presenter/journalist(Abby Martin) where she took it upon herself to visit the country to view for herself the “news” that was being reported in the States. To her surprise she found plenty of newspapers that were antigovernment but were free to write their stuff. She found supermarkets well stocked also. And like any other country, she spoke to folk who were for and against their govt. It was also pointed out that big companies(owned by rich people) were deliberately not supplying their products to retailers in order to sew anger amongst the public. A kind of economic war if you like.
      Btw, if this so called revolt against Maduro was popular why oh why did the ‘opposition’ boycott the recent election? Surely if they had overwhelming support it would’ve made their case stronger? Doesn’t make sense. Although I am no supporter of mickey Brady, it should be stated that govts(especially those that arnt liked by the west) invite international observers over(the UN send reps too) to eye witness for themselves that nothing untoward is happening at polling stations etc etc. One of the main reasons govts invite these international observers is to defend itself against inevitable criticism from its opponents and its haters. I.e “the poll was rigged” or “people were not allowed to vote” etc etc. Alas it’s indeed ironic that these type of comments are usually expressed at US elections…………no sanction calls are made from the great and the good there btw!

      • Stephen Kelly August 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

        Oh my god i have just been attacked with fake news i now know i made the right decision.
        40 countries protest and do not recognize Venezuela’s new assembly amid fraud accusations.
        Do you honestly deny that the people of Venezuela are not feeding out of waste bins breaking into the zoo to steal animals to eat that their is no medicine for babies and adults. Thousands upon thousands of children and people are suffering from malnutrition and are dying from easily preventable causes. Dear god go to google news go to Venezuela hit return and you will get newspapers from all over the world not cia papers not an phoblacht not the Russian or American variant but hardened truthful reporters who this last months have been refused entry to the country look up the Hamas supporting vice president who deals in narcotics but then i suppose we should remember the farc connection (they haven’t gone away you know) he is using it now along with the generals and other narco cartels tons of drugs are passing through Venezuela. Look up the tens of thousands crossing over to Columbia and Brazil everyday to escape and others to try and buy medicine .What am i doing replying to this person its a wind up isn’t it Mickie LOL sinn feinn are a very clever organisation for which i always admired them and they know whats really happening. I have been following this disaster for months along with the breakdown of the ANC in south Africa due to president Zuma and his friends the Guptas they have looted billions from the poorest in South Africa.are sinn feinn going to deny that debacle as well just because it is an old freedom fighting organisation the oldest in Africa falling apart through greed just like Venezueal Chavezs daughters are billionares. Not everyone is hurting, though. Chavez’s daughter, María Gabriela, has a looted fortune estimated at more than $4 billion. Google is your friend look up all the reputable news outlets and they along with even the pope are on the same page you cannot hide anymore just like the yanks and the brits in iraq and libya we know what bush and Blair done just like we know what Maduro and his henchmen are doing and it sure ain’t socialism as i would recognize it Mickie. I wanted to support sinn feinn but not in the face of British like disinformation. hope Mickie took some toilet rolls and antibiotics to pass out to the poor.

        • Stephen Kelly August 6, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

          Wolfe tone
          The last word on this from me goes to the pope who i have a lot of respect for even though i am not overly religeous. The Holy See declared itself on Friday against the brutal regime of Nicolas Maduro, capping an extraordinary few months of masterful maneuvering by the bishops of Venezuela. They have preserved the integrity of the Church’s witness in the face of a tyrant that has starved his people and refused to permit foreign aid to help them.
          The statement of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State calls on Maduro to abandon his plans to hold a “constituent assembly” to rewrite the constitution in his favour. It calls again for human rights to be respected, and refers to earlier calls for political prisoners to be released and new elections to be held – which, presumably and hopefully – would lead to the end of Maduro’s regime. I will never understand why Micki Brady and sinn feinn lent Maduro legitimacy.

          • Wolfe tone August 6, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

            Stephen, seriously, you need to wise up if you are taking whatever the Vatican says serious. They are some outfit to chastise and call anyone tyrants. In fact Pope Francis was fond of tyrants and juntas himself at one time; Argentina junta had his blessing during the 70’s. As you say, why don’t you Google it?………after all it is your friend.

        • Wolfe tone August 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

          Lmfao! Sure why don’t you post me a few links to this evidence you have been ‘following’so I can ascertain and perhaps learn something new? Just out of curiosity I am shocked that the likes of the BBC for example don’t publish these proofs you talk of ? Surely they wouldn’t pass up the chance to put the boot into them pesky socialists guys? Surely?

          Btw, don’t make me laugh about the Pope weighing in with his take on Venezuela. You would need to be out at sea most of your life if you take the likes of him serious or even that he cares. Like other politicians he is only interested in power and vested interests to whom he represents.

          P.s Google, Wikipedia etc have their pitfalls too….just saying.

          • Stephen Kelly August 6, 2017 at 10:01 pm #

            Lmfao! Sure why don’t you post me a few links to this evidence you have been ‘following’so I can ascertain and perhaps learn something new

            Lmfao is such a pathetic little collection of letters. Google is your friend if your grasp of internet searching is so pathetic i cannot help you and with your pathetic little lmfao put down and the other garbage you wrote you have now been selected for avoidance just like geo, tam and a few others please do not engage with me anymore but if you choose to write something pathetic and childish beginning with lmafo feel free but i will not be engaging with a troll like you with an agenda anymore. Like i say you have been selected for avoidance goodbye (just saying) LOL. Go on you know you want to, go on do it have the last word go on LOLOLOL.

        • Colmán August 7, 2017 at 1:56 am #

          If you have a problem with Mickey Brady perhaps you should write to him and tell him instead of hoping that he might somehow read this blog. My worry for Venezuela is that their oil will get ripped off and the Amazon will get further deforested to feed an ever resource-hungry west therefore leaving the indigenous population homeless.

  5. Stephen Kelly August 6, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    So as people know where i stand i am a nationalist who wants a united Ireland and i don’t read or reply to people who support the british army OO/UDR/RUC/UVF/ ETC, ETC I just scroll past them. Like i used to turn down the sound when ian paisley came on the tv. Ho hum if that makes me a bad person i can live with it, as its the only harm i do and it effects no one else.I enjoy reading for one instance and there are many Eolach so i do get a lot out of this blog. Oh and i love the Saturday pics especially when the post and the pics are about nature and wildlife.

  6. St. Patrick August 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    To put it mildly I would be no fan of Fine Gallagher but fair play to Leo. He has shown himself to have more balls than the previous shower.

  7. St. Patrick August 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm #


  8. gaz August 6, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    Leo is a bit out of his depth on this-He has to cross his fingers and hope the EU negotiate on his behalf
    Sovereignty-which was what 1916-1923 was all about has been handed on a plate to EU
    At least UK is taking its own future in to its own hands
    Ireland would be told to vote vote and vote again until right result was achieved-and meekly obey
    Seems only resistance to British Masters is allowed-not to Masters in Brussels and Berlin
    All style and no substance is Leo-a lightweight who will soon be found out

    • Tam August 6, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

      Doesn’t the South have a veto over the deal?