A recent release of a tranche of government papers relating to the early stages of the so-called Northern Ireland peace process brought no surprises to those of us with a natural cynicism towards the actions of the Irish political class. The papers revealed that a promise to increase security cooperation in return for a consultative role in the governance of Northern Ireland via the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement never materialised. The short-to-medium term goal of successive Irish governments has always been to maximise political influence in that part of the United Kingdom, whilst simultaneously minimising any financial consequences or facilitating any threat to the Irish state as a consequence. As Kipling once said: ‘Power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.’
The mendacious inclinations of the Dublin political classes have manifest themselves in a reinvigorated fashion in the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit referendum. The mendacity comes from their outright denial that the EU’s proposed ‘backstop’ as a means to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is an attempt to annex the territory of Northern Ireland de jure. But, of course, nobody who has read the March declaration by the EU27 can be doubtful that is exactly what the intention is. All the while the cry from Dublin has been this version of the backstop is necessary to preserve the integrity of the Belfast Agreement. Sadly, we have media hacks so incompetent at their own jobs it would never occur to them to ask how economically partitioning Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK isn’t a breach of the central principle of consent in the Agreement. It clearly is.
In December the UK government pledged in Article 49 of the EU Joint Report it would not impose a stricter border regime between ourselves and the Irish Republic. However, it also pledged in Article 50 to do nothing to impede Northern Ireland’s full access to the UK internal market (worth over three times the value of exports of the aforementioned Republic). The two articles are inextricably linked (a bit like Sinn Fein and the IRA). Then, barely a week later, Michel Barnier metaphorically defecated all over Article 50 and, by the time of the EU’s proposal in March, a UK pledge to avoid the implementation of a ‘hard border’ had metamorphosed into a European Union desire to keep Northern Ireland within the remit of the bloc’s regulations in relation to both the Customs Union and the Single Market. Anything from Dublin about such an atrocious volte face? Not at all. They and their media lackeys, such as the highfalutin Fintan O’Toole, were still busy slamming the UK for our Brexit decision and conjuring up the bogeyman of ‘English nationalism’ as its driving force! I have news for them: The UK’s foreign policy doesn’t exist for the convenience of the Republic of Ireland.
There is no way any British government could countenance a part of its sovereign territory lying outwith its ability to make laws. This is why the ‘backstop’ proposed by Brussels has zero chance of coming to fruition. In any event, this particular administration is in a confidence and supply agreement with Ulster’s DUP and will not want to risk being ousted from office for the sake of kowtowing to the outrageous demands of territorial annexation. Even so, the release of the papers relating to Dublin’s pledge to tackle terrorism in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, coupled with its flagrant disregard for the central consent principle of the Good Friday accord it otherwise so keenly defends, is proof enough Irish nationalism is a very untrustworthy partner.