Sputnik: Why has there still not been an efficient agreement over the Irish border?
Liam Kennedy: It’s very hard to tell, the cynical view is that the EU negotiator and Michel Barnier in particular is using the Irish border as a major bargaining chip. I’m not sure that is still the case, it may well be that they feel it really is a hard nut to crack, and the Irish government is going in heavily behind the EU negotiators. In short it is hard to say, but there is the old mantra nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, this is one of those hot topics that are still in the melting pot.
Liam Kennedy: I think from a Dublin or Republic of Ireland point of view that would be a dreadful outcome and for Britain as well of course. It’s certainly possible but it would surprise me, my feeling is Dublin would be extremely embarrassed if it headed in that direction and would exert influence to downgrade the Irish issue. It’s because the Republic of Ireland’s major trading partner is the UK, and are very dependent on UK goodwill and it cuts both ways. Until Brexit was around the relations between the Irish Republic and Britain were at an all-time high, understanding was better than they have ever been.
Liam Kennedy: The Brexit debate has already ignited around Irish unity, if you go back a few years no one here was seriously considering that an issue. It is now being talked about where anyone likes it or dislikes it. Brexit would add further to that debate, particularly a hard Brexit as it would mark a deterioration of Dublin London relations. Political parties on both sides of the divide, both nationalist and unionist I expect would enter into a huge blame game and that would be politically destabilising.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.