Once again we see Ireland becoming a pawn in a continental European game, and yet another attempted continental land-grab. In the past, European powers have looked at Ireland as a stepping stone to control Great Britain (and England in particular). Spain, France and Germany have all tried previously and now, it seems, history repeats itself once again via the EU. Ironically, the plantation of Ulster was designed to stop Europeans using Ireland as England’s back door. Judging by the issue of border controls after Brexit, it may well become the back door once again.
Eire has done pretty well out of Europe, somewhere in the region of €60 billion in payments since it first joined in the 1970’s. Ireland has come a long way from the poorest country in the EEC to the economy it is today thanks primarily to EU money (ironically much of it British money). Eire is still very pro-EU; to the Irish the EU was the check to keep Britain in line and the vessel to ensure they would no longer be dominated by their close neighbour. Excepting the Lisbon Treaty ‘re-vote’, Eire has been a subservient and loyal sycophant to the European project. As the saying goes, money does indeed talk.
Northern Ireland, on the other hand has had a bitter-sweet relationship with the EU. To the Irish Republicans/ Nationalists, the EU was seen as the real possibility of Irish unity. Eire, unable to financially support Northern Ireland on its own, soon realised that there was a possibility to do so with EU money, of course. Sinn Fein, once opposed to the EU, now became EU flag-wavers. They saw the EU morph into a socialist/Marxist centralised state, consistent with their own ideology. The Unionists realised the threat the ‘Common Market’ posed to their position in the UK from the offset. Remember, until the birth of UKIP, the DUP were (and still are) the only UK party opposed to the UK’s EU membership.
Suddenly the EU money started pouring into Northern Ireland, particularly into the agricultural sector; the blue flags with gold stars appearing everywhere. The aim was to promote and sell a Northern Irish identity to the British Unionists. In my opinion, this was in order to prepare them for Irish unity by stealth. This was consistent with the EU’s own regionalisation and expansionism policies that we have witnessed throughout Britain and Europe, that is, to undermine and destroy the national identities of its member states. Regions are easy to control; countries are not.
The EU referendum in Northern Ireland split the region down into its traditional groups. The Unionists (except the UUP) supported leave, the Irish nationalists and republicans supported remain.
When the referendum result came through the majority in N. Ireland voted to remain (55.8% vs 44.2% leave). The Unionist-dominated counties voted to leave; Sinn Fein attempted to make capital and demanded a border poll.
Roll forward and now the EU see N. Ireland as a political football and a means to point-score against Britain. Donald Tusk confirmed that if N. Ireland secedes from the United Kingdom and unifies with Eire they would automatically re-join the EU. Polish bluster, Mr. Tusk. If anything, Irish unity is less likely. The EU (and Eire’s) trap was sprung too early and now many Unionists see the bigger picture. The DUP are now supporting the minority Tory government. Brexiteers can’t afford to lose N. Ireland and its DUP MPs as we now see Labour’s Brexit backslide (and other) lies exposed day by day. The DUP are more anti-EU than the Tory backbenchers, and at least we can trust the Ulstermen to do the right thing, unlike the Labour Party.
Eire has the most to lose as the UK is its third biggest export market, only Belgium and the USA are higher. Adding to this, Eire will have to cough up more once the UK’s contributions ends, it can’t afford to cut off its own nose. Roll on March 2019 I say!
On a final note, Ireland should be a warning to Mr. Tusk’s homeland Poland and the other Visegrad nations. The EU don’t take no as an answer, ever. The EU will destroy you, because that’s what it’s designed to do.
If you take the devil’s gold, eventually he will come for your soul.