In the wake of the speech from the British Prime Minister Teresa May in which she outlined the UK plans to exit the EU which includes exit from the single market, the onus is now on the EU to ensure that Ireland gets a suitable deal to cater for our special relationship with the UK.
The UK is Ireland’s biggest trading partner and the relationship between Ireland and the UK is hugely important. Our farming organisations have said that they are of the opinion that Brexit might cost 100 million Euro out of a total trade of 1.6 billion Euro. They should be far more fearful of the threat from Eastern European countries. Remember too that Ireland is a net contributor to the EU.
Teresa May’s statement that she wants to preserve the special relationship between Ireland and the UK is very welcome but let’s see will our ‘good buddies’ in the EU respect that when the negotiations start. The EU must ensure that Ireland get a special deal to cater with this situation and if that is not forthcoming we will have to consider our position within the EU. Look at the situation in Norway where they are trading with the EU but are free to conduct free trade agreements with other countries. It might be the best option for Ireland going forward if we do not get what we are loking for. The situation with regard to customs is still unclear and we will have to wait to hear what the plans are in that regard but our Government must be pro-active with regard to any negotiations.
Our Government have to play hardball with the EU on the negotiations with regard to a deal on Brexit. Too often in the past we have bowed our heads and bent the knee in the face of the EU. This time we must stand firm. The nod and wink carry on that we have seen in our relationbship with the EU especially in recent years must stop and we must insist on a proper deal to cover the Brexit situation.
It is also worth noting that Teresa May has said that whatever deal is agreed will be put before the Houses of Parliment which is significant.