Former Irish Ambassador to Canada, Ray Bassett, has had a book published on the relationship between Ireland and the EU in a Post Brexit era. In doing so, he has fallen foul of the establishment in Dublin by questioning one of the few remaining sacred cows in modern Ireland, namely the State’s slavish adherence to the interests of the European Union, even when it conflicts with Ireland’s own national interests.
In the book, Bassett draws heavily on his own experiences in Canada, including his discussions with members of the then Conservative administration in Ottawa such as former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. He recounts lobbying the Canadian authorities for extra visas for Irish citizens at Federal and Provincial levels. He outlines the sympathetic response he received and how Flaherty and Mark Carney, then Governor of the Canadian Central Bank, greatly assisted Ireland in its time of difficulty. This was in marked contrast with the reaction of the EU institutions and indeed Washington.
Bassett argues that Ireland’s interests would have been much better served in Brexit by acting as a bridge between London and Brussels because of the extensive interconnections between Ireland and Britain. Instead, Ireland adopted a very aggressive and, in the end, a counterproductive position against the UK. This helped destroy the political fortunes of both David Cameron and Theresa May and their replacement with a much harder Brexiteer in Boris Johnson.
Bassett also points out that Ireland’s own relations with the EU is changing and that the country is as big a net financial contributor to the EU per capita as the UK, something which the Irish Government seemed strangely coy about revealing. Also, in areas such as taxation policy, fisheries, foreign policy, defence and even agriculture, new EU policies all seem to be going in a direction which Ireland finds uncomfortable. This should spark a fundamental and balanced debate about where the country’s real interests lie. However, after decades of publicly funded pro EU Propaganda, this will be difficult to achieve.
The book has been popular with the first print run sold out quickly. It has received very favourable reviews in Belfast, both the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph, and in Britain. It has been among the best sellers in its category in Amazon books and has received the top 5-star recommendation from readers. An excellent Christmas present for those who want to delve deeper into the challenges facing Ireland when Brexit finally takes effect.
Click here to order on Amazon