An inspiring interview regarding our plans for Brexit

On Saturday afternoon I was in the car listening to Radio 4 and I heard an interview arranged by Nick Robinson who was discussing Brexit with Simon Coveney who is a Teachta Dála for Foreign Affairs & Trade with special responsibility for Brexit. He has been involved in politics for more than 20 years. The interview which can be heard here is very inspiring and I have now listened to it again and taken the time to write out some of the elements of his interview as I would argue it is worth reading some of the elements. Early in the interview he stated

“This is a really important time, despite COVID we have some enormous challenges to overcome as two islands as Britain and Ireland in the context of Brexit and that really has been my focus workwise for the last 3 years”

and then he commented

“This really is a watershed moment in some ways for Ireland in terms of our relationship with the UK and my big, big priority here is to protect the relationship which should be one of neighbours, friends, political partners, economies integrated, families integrated while at the same time respecting Britain’s decision to leave the European Union but wanting to remain a close friend of the EU and of course of Ireland and along with that trying to manage the relationships on the Island of Ireland between the two jurisdictions North and South which of course Brexit has made very very complicated and at times quite fractious.”

He then says

“I am incredibly disappointed in the current British Government because I am someone who believes in Britain, as a country that sets standards across the globe, as a country that has an extraordinary history and one of the world’s great powers in historical terms and still today as a country that influences global decision making I want Britain to respond to a challenge like Brexit in a way that looks beyond its own shores and isn’t driven by an inward looking nationalism which often drives the emotion, particularly in England of Brexit.”

Later on in the interview he explains how Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar met and held a session in Wirral and set out a deal which up until a few days ago all of us thought was the arrangement that our MPs were all supporting.

“Because we did manage to find a way forward at the meeting between the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister at the Wirral, that is now what we want the Prime Minister to actually follow through on. That agreement solved the problem. That agreement resulted in the protocol on Northern Ireland and Ireland which was part of the Withdrawal Agreement which is now part of an International Treaty and all we are asking for is that the commitments that the Prime Minister made on that day that he subsequently signed a treaty on and that he after that won an election on and after that passed legislation to implement that he would actually follow through now on those commitments  instead what he is proposing to do is to pass legislation that undermines that agreement that found a way forward for everybody and that is what I think has been such a surprise and a disappointment for so many people because undoubtedly not only has this damaged the trust between the two negotiating teams but I think that the decision to introduce the internal market bill in the last few weeks is damaging Britain’s reputation globally and the Prime Ministers and that is why five previous Prime Ministers have all come out and said this is wrong, Britain shouldn’t do this,  this is damaging our reputation, there are other ways to solve these problems and there are, there is a negotiation and a structure around that, that can solve these issues for Britain – they don’t need to pass laws to breach International Law.”

His final comment is

“I want to ensure that in the weeks ahead we find a way to get a future relationship deal in place that avoids the disruption and division that will flow from not being able to get a future relationship deal in place. I think I understand British politics and the British mind-set reasonably well to help in that process and to help the EU side to understand what Britain needs to get a deal here. But the UK have also got to understand what the EU needs because I think sometimes the debate on Brexit in Britain is solely dominated by an internal debate in Westminster and a British media that focuses too much on looking inwards rather than outwards and surely it is in Britain’s interest, a sovereign independent Britain outside of the European Union to have a close friendly integrated partnership with the EU in the future as opposed to something that continues to drift away from the EU in isolation in the middle of the Atlantic. That is not a future for Britain that I want as someone who cares about Britain and respects your sovereignty and Britain I hope is a big enough country to be able to understand and listen to the genuine concerns of its neighbours. Particularly its closest neighbour and that is really the context in which I approach Brexit trying to ensure that my friends and colleagues in Britain listen to genuine Irish concerns and try and accommodate them and of course we work through our EU friends to make sure that is heard. But look this can be done, this can be settled, we can get a deal that everybody can live with and it will be an enormous failure of politics and of diplomacy if that doesn’t happen before the end of the year.”

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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1 Response to An inspiring interview regarding our plans for Brexit

  1. Rob Furber says:

    Ian with respect THIS administration doesn’t listen to its own side that maintains it’s 80 plus parliamentary majority, and the tory party’s persistent ignoring of “the Irish question” has been a thorn in the side of British politics since Gladstone.

    Some day we’ll wake up to the fact our neighbours are on BOTH sides of us (It isn’t just at Calais we have to get used to ‘foreigners’.

    (It was a GREAT interview though)

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