Irish star Chris O’Dowd has said he worries the British government is gearing up to sell Ireland down the river over Brexit.
The Bridesmaids and Moone Boy star said that to an Irish person the idea that Britain would do anything else is ‘laughable’.
Britain is currently going through the process of leaving the European Union. It is a complicated process that would involve the need for a border between the UK and EU – unless the UK remains in the Customs Union, which it doesn’t intend on doing.
The problem is that this would mean putting a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, which goes against the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the country.
The UK, the EU and Ireland have all insisted there can be no return to a hard border.
One solution would be to have the border in the Irish Sea. However, this was rejected because the UK government is propped up by the DUP who refuse to allow Northern Ireland to be treated differently to the rest of the UK.
The UK government has suggested that using up-to-date technology could keep track of products that cross the UK-EU border which could allow a soft border to exist without the need for a hard border between the North and Republic.
However, this futuristic technology is currently so up-to-date that it hasn’t been invented yet, and there is no sign of it appearing anytime soon.
A solution agreed by former Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU involved a ‘backstop’ which would see the UK remain closely aligned to the EU customs union until such time as a more suitable solution could be found.
However, this was rejected in UK parliament, with Brexiteers complaining it would not provide the UK with sufficient independence from the EU.
The fact that the UK’s Brexiteers are so adamant about rejecting the backstop solution suggests the mystery technology they were so confident about may be further away from becoming viable than they had suggested.
It is certainly a conundrum that is impossible to resolve until one party gives way. It could be said that since the UK are responsible for the situation in the first place, they should be the ones to do so. Unsurprisingly, they see it differently.
The EU said from the start that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
While Britain has known all along that this was the EU’s position, many politicians – including current Prime Minister Boris Johnson – are keen to create the impression that it is Ireland, rather than themselves, that must be blamed for holding the process up and failing to find a solution.
During Mrs May’s time there were plenty of suggestions that the deal was almost agreed and it is just the issue of the border that needs solving.
By attempting to minimise the importance of the border issue, the UK’s right-wing politicians and press are showing they have no qualms about putting strain on the delicate peace process that the GFA had secured.
Given the centuries long history of Irish-British relations, this is not a surprise to O’Dowd.
He told the Irish Times: “It seems oddly fitting to the people of Ireland that Brexit is coming down to the backstop. The suggestion that the British government is making – that they won’t f*** us over – is laughable. That’s what they have done for 800 years.
He added that while British people may not see it such a way, it is because they were never taught about the history of Britain’s treatment of Ireland.
He said: “People growing up in Britain won’t have much sense of that. Their history books don’t really dwell on the depraved way Britain has treated its closest neighbour. What do I think will happen? Irish prosperity and peace are going to be completely usurped by Westminster. Again.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling