The Republic of Ireland is intimately intertwined economically, historically, geographically and culturally with the UK. Brexit, which the Irish government never saw coming, therefore has huge implications for Ireland – for the worse as long as Ireland itself remains in the EU.
Ireland once got more out of the EU than it paid in. That ratio has now been reversed: it is now a net contributor. Once Britain exits the EU, Ireland will urgently need a free-trade deal with the UK, its main trading partner, as well as the continued free movement of peoples between Ireland and the UK. These arrangements are essential to avoid otherwise certain and large-scale damage to the Irish economy. They cannot be achieved once the UK exits the EU if Ireland remains signed up to it.
As the former Irish diplomat Ray Bassett argues in this pamphlet “Irexit”, or Ireland leaving the EU, would benefit Ireland’s economy; would enable it to put Irish interests first rather than continuing to subjugate them to the interests of the EU; and would obviate the threat of a post-Brexit “hard border” with Northern Ireland, preserving instead the hard-won “peace process” status quo in relations with the province.
What’s not to like?