Author Topic: Brexit.  (Read 430515 times)

seafoid

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6435 on: February 11, 2019, 01:05:35 PM »
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/11/theresa-may-leading-us-towards-highly-dangerous-no-deal-brexit/

Theresa May is leading us towards a highly dangerous no-deal Brexit and a united Ireland   
•   
John Bruton FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF IRELAND
11 February 2019 • 10:00am

We seem to be sliding inexorably toward a “no deal” Brexit. Theresa May’s decision to prioritize a deal with the Brexiteers in her own party, over a possible deal with the Opposition, and the time limits imposed on all of us by Article 50, make a No Deal much more likely than it was a week ago.
The EU is a rule-based organisation, and it cannot afford to break its own rules if it wants to maintain its moral and political authority. The technical fixes, advocated by the Tory Brexiteers, cannot be worked through between now and 29 March.
At this late stage, Mrs May can afford to gamble, because, politically, she has little left to lose. The EU cannot do so.
Its credibility is vital to its trade agreements with the rest of the world. Its internal cohesion depends on the consistent application of common rules.  Where will a No Deal leave Ireland?
On 1 April, the UK will be a non-EU country. By law, the EU will have to treat it as such. Ireland has opted to stay in the EU and will have to continue to apply EU law, including the EU Customs Code, in all its dealings with non-EU states, including the UK and Northern Ireland. That is a clear general principle.
The detail of how this might be applied at Irish ports and land boundaries, on traffic arriving from the UK, should now be clarified in minute detail.
There is no negotiating advantage now in withholding this information at this late stage, in light of Mrs May’s choice to prioritize a deal with the Conservative Brexiteers over a deal with Labour.
Recently, the Belfast-based pollster LucidTalk asked people in Northern Ireland how Brexit might influence how they would vote in a referendum on leaving the UK and joining a United Ireland. Their results, I have to say, were quite surprising.
If there were a “no deal” Brexit crash-out of the EU: 55%  said they would either certainly or probably vote for a united Ireland, against 42% certainly or probably opting to stay in the UK.
If there were a Brexit based on Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement: the outcome would be wide open, with 48 % opting to stay in the Union, and 48% wanting Irish unification.
What makes the difference in the poll is the crucial swing vote of the “neutrals”, who are neither self-described unionists nor self-described nationalist/republicans.
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If there is no deal, only 14% of these “neutrals” would vote to remain in the UK! If there is Brexit on May’s terms, that rises to 29%.
This poll should be read by Conservative MPs who claim perversely to oppose the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop due to their support for the Union of Northern Ireland with Britain. In the name of support for the Union, these Conservative MPs risk opening the way to a No Deal Brexit, the very outcome that would make a breakup of the Union most likely.
By backing Brexit at all costs, including a no-deal Brexit, the Democratic Unionist Party has enhanced the likelihood of a border poll that would end the Union. This is not a wise course for a “unionist” party to have followed. It plays into the hands of Sinn Fein.
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This DUP approach shows how the politics of identity can lead sensible people to adopt policies that lead to the very outcome that they do not want.
The poll data also raises questions about how the vast UK Exchequer subsidy towards public services in Northern Ireland could be met from the much smaller Irish Exchequer, in the event of a united Ireland being chosen by voters in a referendum in Northern Ireland. The implications for tax, and for public services and pay, in both parts of Ireland would be substantial.
There is also the question of how Loyalists, who passionately support the Union and who have a record of violence, might react to a referendum decision that did not go the way they wanted, and how the Garda Siochana and the Irish Army could cope with this.
Neither of these points is addressed by those, who refuse to take their seats where they could do some good, and who are instead constantly demanding a border poll. As Brexit shows, making a big decision on the basis on the basis of a 58/48% vote can have dire consequences.
Mrs May, by prioritizing Conservative Party unity over a cross-party approach, is leading these two islands into constitutional and emotional territory that has not been mapped, and that is highly dangerous.
John Bruton served as Taoiseach from 1994 to 1997 , then the EU's Ambassador to the USA (2004-2009)
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grounded

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6436 on: February 11, 2019, 01:40:24 PM »
Holy feck, big 'commonwealth' John manages to somehow implicate the shinners for the brexit mess. What a suprise.

Shamrock Shore

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6437 on: February 11, 2019, 02:26:44 PM »
Did John Bruton finally escape from Prince Charles' arse?

grounded

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6438 on: February 11, 2019, 02:29:04 PM »
Did John Bruton finally escape from Prince Charles' arse?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LHsvb7k7_ho

Never fails to make me laugh

seafoid

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6439 on: February 11, 2019, 02:45:33 PM »

Ireland is again in the grip of Anglophobia
 
By

Here is a beauty from the House of Sindo


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/01/31/ireland-grip-anglophobia/

Eilis O'Hanlon

 31 January 2019 • 6:30pm   

One hundred years ago, a small group of newly elected MPs met at the Mansion House in Dublin to declare Irish independence. Curiously, the passion that existed in Ireland back then for the inalienable right of nations to self-determination finds no contemporary echo when it comes to understanding the impulses that led to Brexit.

On the contrary, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, may have used the recent centenary of that First Dail to laud the aspiration to a “free, independent and democratic state”, but he shamelessly did so while asserting that it now finds its fullest expression in, and is best achieved through, membership of the EU. It’s a telling indication of where the Irish public mood stands right now that he got away with such absurd revisionism.

EU membership has allowed Ireland to feel for once like the bigger party in its relationship with Britain, and that’s been good for self-confidence; but it has also encouraged Dublin to overplay its hand in the current crisis. As time runs out towards March 29, it would be only natural for the Irish to wonder in hindsight if they had made the right call by throwing in their lot with Brussels, at the risk of good relations with their nearest neighbour. As it happens, there is no evidence of such second thoughts in Dublin at all, despite the decision to back the UK into a corner, which threatens to sour the rest of Varadkar’s premiership.


Maintaining the solidarity of the EU at all costs has become an end in itself, even if it leads to a no-deal Brexit and a hard border, which is the very outcome it was meant to avoid.

Politically speaking, the Taoiseach remains fortunate. His party is behind him all the way; his bullish stance has proved popular in the polls; the Irish media is pretty much united in scorn against the UK’s decision to leave the EU; and opposition parties have wrapped themselves in the green flag, rather than risk charges of disloyalty by daring to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Ireland should not have been so gung ho about pursuing a path with the potential to go so badly wrong.

It would be easy to blame the EU for pushing Ireland down this blind alley, using the threat of a hard border as leverage against Britain. Worryingly, however, the current mood of rancour towards the UK that has been stirred up by Brexit is more deeply embedded than that.

The Britain which the Irish are now set on repelling to the bitter end is one that exists in the collective consciousness as a folk memory of oppression; a synonym for historic ill‑treatment. That old trope had faded so much in recent times that it was tempting to hope it had gone for good. Now it’s back, and what’s troubling is how this rising tide of Anglophobia is flourishing among the educated, middle-class Irish who would have been aghast until lately to think they still had it in them.

They’ve been given permission to indulge in an old tribal animus, while being assured by their own government that this atavistic backlash is all the fault of the British themselves.

Even if Brussels were to perform one of its traditional “EU-turns” and put pressure on an unsuspecting Dublin to back down on the backstop, Irish opinion right now would still place the blame at Britain’s door.

What’s being forgotten is that it is not Britain which will have to deal with the consequences of any fall‑out from the raking up of ancient hostilities, but Ireland itself. Even moderate unionists in Northern Ireland are being treated again as hostile and alien as an old pan‑nationalist front reasserts itself under the sheltering wing of the EU.
Varadkar continues to fan these flames by stating that Ireland is being “victimised” by Brexit, while simultaneously positioning the country as a heavyweight going toe to toe with Britain, ready to punch it out to see who hits the canvas first. This mixture of aggression and self-pity is a dangerous brew.

If the brinksmanship backfires, the EU has its excuses ready. It can always say it was simply standing four-square behind a valued member state. It’s the Irish who will pay the greater price – economically, but in a deeper sense, too, by recklessly undoing decades of reconciliation.


Eilis O’Hanlon writes for the Sunday Independent and Belfast Telegraph
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seafoid

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6440 on: February 11, 2019, 03:08:03 PM »
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/how-was-the-irish-border-drawn-in-the-first-place-1.3789571

How was the Irish Border drawn in the first place?

Three civil servants produced different options for temporary ‘exclusion zone’ in 1914

Conor Mulvagh

"Nearing a century in existence the Irish Border has become the defining feature of Ireland’s political geography. The Border was established in law in December 1920 but as an exclusion zone between two parts of the United Kingdom chalked for devolution, not independence. When the Anglo-Irish Treaty was ratified in 1922, the boundary line became an international border. But who drew the line in the first place and what thinking lay behind the decision to go for full six-county exclusion? In the spring of 1914, the British government secured secret approval for a strictly time-limited exclusion of an undetermined portion of Ulster from the leaders of nationalist Ireland – John Redmond, John Dillon, T P O’Connor, and Joseph Devlin.

Once the leadership of the Irish Parliamentary Party had been locked in, the British government began in earnest to draw up possible schemes for the exclusion of Ulster. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, Augustine Birrell, called upon three senior Irish civil servants to draw up a boundary for an Ulster exclusion zone. These were Birrell’s undersecretary, Sir James B Dougherty; W F Bailey of the Estates Commissioners Office; and Sir Henry Augustus Robinson, vice-president of the Local Government Board for Ireland. Birrell set May 6th as the deadline for receipt of proposals from his three advisers. When submitted, each scheme included a justification for why certain communities were left north or south of the dividing line.

Ultimately it was Dougherty whose boundary scheme was adopted. On the eve of the first World War, Redmond and Edward Carson faced each other down for their claim to Fermanagh and Tyrone but following the 1916 Rising, Redmond abandoned his claim to what would become Northern Ireland’s two Catholic-majority counties. Historian Roy Foster has described Redmond as “desperate . . . to achieve any settlement going” after the Rising.

“Of Crossmaglen nationalists, Robinson opined that they “are about the warmest lot I know”

Returning to 1914, the texts for the three exclusion schemes give unparalleled insight into the conceptual underpinnings of the modern Irish Border. Two stark points emerge. Firstly, decisions unsympathetic to large borderland communities were taken in the name of administrative efficiency. Secondly, the Border’s architects explicitly bowed to force and the threat of violence. Decisions were made to leave substantial communities on the “wrong” side of the exclusion line because of the perceived strength of minority paramilitaries and agitators in their midst.

The Bailey scheme

Taking Bailey first, his was the most disruptive scheme and it paid the least heed to existing administrative boundaries. Instead, Bailey relied on physical geography to craft a more visible border. In Fermanagh, Bailey cut straight through both of the county’s parliamentary divisions, running his boundary line directly up the middle of the Erne waterways system. Of the three schemes, Bailey’s was the only one in which his accompanying notes made no acknowledgement to the scheme’s temporary nature. Bailey’s use of physical geography to create a visible and less permeable boundary line further suggests he had a permanent settlement in mind.
A reconstruction of W F Bailey’s proposed borderline A reconstruction of W F Bailey’s proposed borderline 
Further down his boundary line, Bailey proposed the inclusion of the entire parliamentary division of North Monaghan within the unionist area. Monaghan was a county nobody else was even considering and North Monaghan had a two-thirds Catholic majority. Because his boundary line sliced through existing administrative units, it was impossible for Bailey to accurately estimate how many of the almost 1.2 million people he planned to exclude from the jurisdiction of the Home Rule parliament were Catholics and Protestants.

The Robinson scheme

By far the most thorough of the three exclusion schemes was that devised by Robinson. In drawing his boundary line, Robinson took local government boundaries as his operational unit: a method his undersecretary would later dismiss as unworkable. The Robinson scheme proposed the exclusion of 26.85 per cent of the population of Ireland and 28.58 per cent of Ireland’s land by valuation. Robinson’s exclusion zone was two-thirds Protestant and one-third Catholic. Of the three, Robinson’s boundary line was the only one which explicitly considered infrastructure such as road and rail connections. Even though Robinson’s line was not ultimately adopted, his justifications are highly instructive in explaining the thinking underpinning the final shape of the Irish Border, especially the inclusion of the two Catholic majority counties, Tyrone and Fermanagh, and the majority Catholic city of Derry.
Sir Henry Robinson’s proposed border Sir Henry Robinson’s proposed border 
On the eastern end of the boundary line, the Robinson scheme showed considerably more sympathy to Catholics than simple six-county exclusion. Robinson left south Armagh and south Down, including the heavily Catholic town of Newry, within Home Rule jurisdiction. One can only imagine how differently subsequent Irish history might have played out had south Armagh been under Dublin rule from the outset. In the western half of Ulster, Robinson made a number of sweeping decisions regarding large swathes of territory with solid Catholic majorities.

In drawing his line, Robinson factored in “the degrees of obstreperousness in the rival sectarian factions on the border line”. In terms of appeasing volatile sectarian communities, Robinson bent to both nationalist and unionist extremists. Of Crossmaglen nationalists, he opined that they “are about the warmest lot I know”. In Fermanagh, Robinson’s justification was even more illuminating. Here he justified the inclusion of an area with a 3,000-strong Catholic majority because “there has been more money spent on armament and drilling here than in any part of the county and these Enniskillen and Lisnaskea protestant farmers are the most blood-thirsty set of ruffians I know”. Fearing a contagion effect in Cavan and Monaghan, Robinson defended the exclusion of these districts as “there would be no peace or settlement along the whole border line if these people were left out”. Bailey had applied the same logic to justify the inclusion of North Monaghan and the whole of Tyrone, the Protestant minorities of which he described as being “very strong and . . . better drilled and armed than in almost any part of the Province”.

Despite all of his careful work and calculations, Robinson all but threw away all his careful cartography at the end of his letter to Birrell stating: “I expect you will find that the Ulstermen’s minimum will be six entire counties in and no option . . . Personally, I agree about no option [putting the matter to a plebiscite]. It will indeed mean riots when this crucial issue is announced.”

The Dougherty scheme

The third and final scheme to be submitted was that of Dougherty, the highest-ranking civil servant in Ireland. Dougherty first wrote on May 7th explaining that it would be “a difficult, if not impossible job to construct these pens” and that “the policy of exclusion, whatever plan may be adopted, bristles with difficulties and . . . I do not see how they are to be surmounted.”

Dougherty’s full memorandum was submitted on May 11th. It considered the merits and demerits of dividing the province by local government areas, parliamentary divisions, and full counties. Of these, Dougherty’s preference was for the scheme which was ultimately adopted: county option. Dougherty’s rationale focused largely on the administrative headache he foresaw in dealing with an otherwise excluded area in which local government boards, county councils, and existing parliamentary constituencies would be split across two jurisdictions.

All three schemes recommended that Ulster’s second city, Derry, which had a 56 per cent Catholic majority, be put into the exclusion zone. Robinson argued that it was “impossible to keep the maiden city out of the parent county”. Dougherty reminded his chief secretary that “the city of Derry has strong sentimental attractions for the Ulster Protestant, and it is the headquarters of the county administration” adding that “it is unlikely the ‘Covenanters’ will now consent to see the city excluded from Protestant Ulster.”

Despite declaring for the whole-county option, Dougherty fudged his answer to the question of whether four or six counties should be excluded. His rationale for four-county exclusion was based on the fact that such a scheme would create “a tolerably compact area” but he seems on balance to have conceded that six counties would be the more realistic outcome due to the fact that “it is difficult to see how the Ulster Covenanters in the four included counties can abandon their brethren in Tyrone or Fermanagh”. No more than Robinson, Dougherty was conceding to the power of force and threat in making his decisions over Ulster. Historian Brendan O Donoghue makes a convincing case that copies of various maps, including Robinson’s May 6th map, were circulated among attendees at the Buckingham Palace Conference in July when it came to discussing permutations for an area for exclusion that might be acceptable to both nationalists and unionists.

The stark reality of the Irish Border is that it was never intended to be in international boundary. What began as an idea for a temporary demarcation line between two devolved United Kingdom parliaments evolved into something much more significant. It has seen customs posts, cratering, spiking, checkpoints, and militarisation over its lifetime. The Irish Border has never been “softer” than it is at the present moment. Equally, there has never been such uncertainty over what the future holds in its chequered history.

Dr Conor Mulvagh is a lecturer in Irish history at University College Dublin"
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dec

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6441 on: February 11, 2019, 04:39:04 PM »
How was the Irish Border drawn in the first place?

I like the version in Spike Milligan's Puckoon.

Rossfan

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6442 on: February 11, 2019, 05:13:47 PM »
I see the pathetic Westbrit "Indepedent" is off on the old "Pan Nationalist Front"  sh1te again.
Just can't bear 80% of Irish people agreeing on what's best for their Country.
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RadioGAAGAA

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6443 on: February 11, 2019, 05:27:49 PM »
Eilis O’Hanlon writes for the Sunday Independent and Belfast Telegraph

How on earth do two separate papers pay her to write for them?

That is intellectually feeble stuff.


Unless the ROI leave the EU - or voluntarily to remove themselves from the single market, then in the even of the UK leaving without being synchronised to the regulations within the EU single market there must be checks at the only land border between EU and UK.

It is not a challenging concept to understand.

Everything else circulates around this fundamental. Why she is bothering to try and dress it up with emotive crap is beyond me.


How someone who has appointed themselves as an intellectual whose opinion is worth of print cannot understand this is quite frankly a reflection of the poor state of media today. No small wonder that paper circulation is continually dropping, why bother forking out for opinions every bit as uninformed as those you might find on facebook.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 05:29:54 PM by RadioGAAGAA »
i usse an speelchekor

seafoid

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6444 on: February 11, 2019, 05:35:07 PM »
Eilis O’Hanlon writes for the Sunday Independent and Belfast Telegraph

How on earth do two separate papers pay her to write for them?

That is intellectually feeble stuff.


Unless the ROI leave the EU - or voluntarily to remove themselves from the single market, then in the even of the UK leaving without being synchronised to the regulations within the EU single market there must be checks at the only land border between EU and UK.

It is not a challenging concept to understand.

Everything else circulates around this fundamental. Why she is bothering to try and dress it up with emotive crap is beyond me.


How someone who has appointed themselves as an intellectual whose opinion is worth of print cannot understand this is quite frankly a reflection of the poor state of media today. No small wonder that paper circulation is continually dropping, why bother forking out for opinions every bit as uninformed as those you might find on facebook.
the Telegraph is atrocious
It's a thinktank for Brexit as far as I can see
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red hander

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6445 on: February 11, 2019, 05:39:29 PM »
Eilis O’Hanlon writes for the Sunday Independent and Belfast Telegraph

How on earth do two separate papers pay her to write for them?

That is intellectually feeble stuff.


Unless the ROI leave the EU - or voluntarily to remove themselves from the single market, then in the even of the UK leaving without being synchronised to the regulations within the EU single market there must be checks at the only land border between EU and UK.

It is not a challenging concept to understand.

Everything else circulates around this fundamental. Why she is bothering to try and dress it up with emotive crap is beyond me.


How someone who has appointed themselves as an intellectual whose opinion is worth of print cannot understand this is quite frankly a reflection of the poor state of media today. No small wonder that paper circulation is continually dropping, why bother forking out for opinions every bit as uninformed as those you might find on facebook.
the Telegraph is atrocious
It's a thinktank for Brexit as far as I can see

Atrocious. Has turned into a DUP propaganda sheet under Gail Walker. But its circulation has collapsed, so very few people are actually reading this shite by O Hanlon, McCausland and that odious old crone Dudley Edwards

seafoid

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6446 on: February 11, 2019, 06:06:30 PM »

Robert Peston
@Peston
The health minister Stephen Hammond has written to a Tory MP to provide assurance to one of the MP’s constituents that the NHS is stockpiling bodybags as insurance against a no-deal Brexit. This is not a joke
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omochain

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6447 on: February 11, 2019, 09:30:33 PM »
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/how-was-the-irish-border-drawn-in-the-first-place-1.3789571

How was the Irish Border drawn in the first place?

Three civil servants produced different options for temporary ‘exclusion zone’ in 1914

Conor Mulvagh
"Nearing a century in existence the Irish Border has become the defining feature of Ireland’s political geography. The Border was established in law in December 1920 but as an exclusion zone between two parts of the United Kingdom chalked for devolution, not independence. When the Anglo-Irish Treaty was ratified in 1922, the boundary line became an international border. But who drew the line in the first place and what thinking lay behind the decision to go for full six-county exclusion? In the spring of 1914, the British government secured secret approval for a strictly time-limited exclusion of an undetermined portion of Ulster from the leaders of nationalist Ireland – John Redmond, John Dillon, T P O’Connor, and Joseph Devlin.

Once the leadership of the Irish Parliamentary Party had been locked in, the British government began in earnest to draw up possible schemes for the exclusion of Ulster. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, Augustine Birrell, called upon three senior Irish civil servants to draw up a boundary for an Ulster exclusion zone. These were Birrell’s undersecretary, Sir James B Dougherty; W F Bailey of the Estates Commissioners Office; and Sir Henry Augustus Robinson, vice-president of the Local Government Board for Ireland. Birrell set May 6th as the deadline for receipt of proposals from his three advisers. When submitted, each scheme included a justification for why certain communities were left north or south of the dividing line.

Ultimately it was Dougherty whose boundary scheme was adopted. On the eve of the first World War, Redmond and Edward Carson faced each other down for their claim to Fermanagh and Tyrone but following the 1916 Rising, Redmond abandoned his claim to what would become Northern Ireland’s two Catholic-majority counties. Historian Roy Foster has described Redmond as “desperate . . . to achieve any settlement going” after the Rising.

“Of Crossmaglen nationalists, Robinson opined that they “are about the warmest lot I know”

Returning to 1914, the texts for the three exclusion schemes give unparalleled insight into the conceptual underpinnings of the modern Irish Border. Two stark points emerge. Firstly, decisions unsympathetic to large borderland communities were taken in the name of administrative efficiency. Secondly, the Border’s architects explicitly bowed to force and the threat of violence. Decisions were made to leave substantial communities on the “wrong” side of the exclusion line because of the perceived strength of minority paramilitaries and agitators in their midst.

The Bailey scheme

Taking Bailey first, his was the most disruptive scheme and it paid the least heed to existing administrative boundaries. Instead, Bailey relied on physical geography to craft a more visible border. In Fermanagh, Bailey cut straight through both of the county’s parliamentary divisions, running his boundary line directly up the middle of the Erne waterways system. Of the three schemes, Bailey’s was the only one in which his accompanying notes made no acknowledgement to the scheme’s temporary nature. Bailey’s use of physical geography to create a visible and less permeable boundary line further suggests he had a permanent settlement in mind.
A reconstruction of W F Bailey’s proposed borderline A reconstruction of W F Bailey’s proposed borderline 
Further down his boundary line, Bailey proposed the inclusion of the entire parliamentary division of North Monaghan within the unionist area. Monaghan was a county nobody else was even considering and North Monaghan had a two-thirds Catholic majority. Because his boundary line sliced through existing administrative units, it was impossible for Bailey to accurately estimate how many of the almost 1.2 million people he planned to exclude from the jurisdiction of the Home Rule parliament were Catholics and Protestants.

The Robinson scheme

By far the most thorough of the three exclusion schemes was that devised by Robinson. In drawing his boundary line, Robinson took local government boundaries as his operational unit: a method his undersecretary would later dismiss as unworkable. The Robinson scheme proposed the exclusion of 26.85 per cent of the population of Ireland and 28.58 per cent of Ireland’s land by valuation. Robinson’s exclusion zone was two-thirds Protestant and one-third Catholic. Of the three, Robinson’s boundary line was the only one which explicitly considered infrastructure such as road and rail connections. Even though Robinson’s line was not ultimately adopted, his justifications are highly instructive in explaining the thinking underpinning the final shape of the Irish Border, especially the inclusion of the two Catholic majority counties, Tyrone and Fermanagh, and the majority Catholic city of Derry.
Sir Henry Robinson’s proposed border Sir Henry Robinson’s proposed border 
On the eastern end of the boundary line, the Robinson scheme showed considerably more sympathy to Catholics than simple six-county exclusion. Robinson left south Armagh and south Down, including the heavily Catholic town of Newry, within Home Rule jurisdiction. One can only imagine how differently subsequent Irish history might have played out had south Armagh been under Dublin rule from the outset. In the western half of Ulster, Robinson made a number of sweeping decisions regarding large swathes of territory with solid Catholic majorities.

In drawing his line, Robinson factored in “the degrees of obstreperousness in the rival sectarian factions on the border line”. In terms of appeasing volatile sectarian communities, Robinson bent to both nationalist and unionist extremists. Of Crossmaglen nationalists, he opined that they “are about the warmest lot I know”. In Fermanagh, Robinson’s justification was even more illuminating. Here he justified the inclusion of an area with a 3,000-strong Catholic majority because “there has been more money spent on armament and drilling here than in any part of the county and these Enniskillen and Lisnaskea protestant farmers are the most blood-thirsty set of ruffians I know”. Fearing a contagion effect in Cavan and Monaghan, Robinson defended the exclusion of these districts as “there would be no peace or settlement along the whole border line if these people were left out”. Bailey had applied the same logic to justify the inclusion of North Monaghan and the whole of Tyrone, the Protestant minorities of which he described as being “very strong and . . . better drilled and armed than in almost any part of the Province”.

Despite all of his careful work and calculations, Robinson all but threw away all his careful cartography at the end of his letter to Birrell stating: “I expect you will find that the Ulstermen’s minimum will be six entire counties in and no option . . . Personally, I agree about no option [putting the matter to a plebiscite]. It will indeed mean riots when this crucial issue is announced.”

The Dougherty scheme

The third and final scheme to be submitted was that of Dougherty, the highest-ranking civil servant in Ireland. Dougherty first wrote on May 7th explaining that it would be “a difficult, if not impossible job to construct these pens” and that “the policy of exclusion, whatever plan may be adopted, bristles with difficulties and . . . I do not see how they are to be surmounted.”

Dougherty’s full memorandum was submitted on May 11th. It considered the merits and demerits of dividing the province by local government areas, parliamentary divisions, and full counties. Of these, Dougherty’s preference was for the scheme which was ultimately adopted: county option. Dougherty’s rationale focused largely on the administrative headache he foresaw in dealing with an otherwise excluded area in which local government boards, county councils, and existing parliamentary constituencies would be split across two jurisdictions.

All three schemes recommended that Ulster’s second city, Derry, which had a 56 per cent Catholic majority, be put into the exclusion zone. Robinson argued that it was “impossible to keep the maiden city out of the parent county”. Dougherty reminded his chief secretary that “the city of Derry has strong sentimental attractions for the Ulster Protestant, and it is the headquarters of the county administration” adding that “it is unlikely the ‘Covenanters’ will now consent to see the city excluded from Protestant Ulster.”

Despite declaring for the whole-county option, Dougherty fudged his answer to the question of whether four or six counties should be excluded. His rationale for four-county exclusion was based on the fact that such a scheme would create “a tolerably compact area” but he seems on balance to have conceded that six counties would be the more realistic outcome due to the fact that “it is difficult to see how the Ulster Covenanters in the four included counties can abandon their brethren in Tyrone or Fermanagh”. No more than Robinson, Dougherty was conceding to the power of force and threat in making his decisions over Ulster. Historian Brendan O Donoghue makes a convincing case that copies of various maps, including Robinson’s May 6th map, were circulated among attendees at the Buckingham Palace Conference in July when it came to discussing permutations for an area for exclusion that might be acceptable to both nationalists and unionists.

The stark reality of the Irish Border is that it was never intended to be in international boundary. What began as an idea for a temporary demarcation line between two devolved United Kingdom parliaments evolved into something much more significant. It has seen customs posts, cratering, spiking, checkpoints, and militarisation over its lifetime. The Irish Border has never been “softer” than it is at the present moment. Equally, there has never been such uncertainty over what the future holds in its chequered history.

Dr Conor Mulvagh is a lecturer in Irish history at University College Dublin"

Thanks Seafoid, that’s great information. Appreciate your informed commitment to historical context.

omaghjoe

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6448 on: February 12, 2019, 04:56:02 AM »
Good lord it looks like seafoid is getting a fanbase on here.

But I suppose there isn't any reason to assume why gaaboard is any less susceptible to coming under the influence of bots than the wider world

RedHand88

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Re: Brexit.
« Reply #6449 on: February 12, 2019, 07:53:43 AM »

Robert Peston
@Peston
The health minister Stephen Hammond has written to a Tory MP to provide assurance to one of the MP’s constituents that the NHS is stockpiling bodybags as insurance against a no-deal Brexit. This is not a joke

They'll come in handy when the insulin runs out.