Posted on 12th October 2019

Slane Castle

It may not be a healthy view as a European but I am heartily tired of hearing our future on this island being decided by the likes of Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Junker.  Finally we have what we should have had months ago, a serious and intense meeting between An Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister.  No, don’t get me wrong.  I bought into the benefit of seeing things on this island in a wider European context years ago in the way that it was articulated by John Hume.

However, there are so many complexities, so much emotion and intertwined history between our two islands that it was obvious from the very beginning that the problems swirling around Brexit didn’t have a hope of being resolved unless there was serious engagement between the two relevant leaders.  Good grief, the omens are good.  They met at a wedding venue.  The Taoiseach talked to the Press at John Lennon Airport.  I say, give it a chance.  The stakes are so high and the livelihoods of thousands of people are on the line. Call it a pathway or the stairway to Heaven.  I don’t care.  I just, like so many, want it over so we can get on with our lives.  So, no analysis, just prayers that they will come out of this famous tunnel with a deal that can be sold to enough to get it across the line.  Oh and a word of caution to Leo.  Don’t screw it up.  Micheal Martin is about to come out of the long grass.

As this was going on, further to the East, President Erdogan of Turkey was unsettling the capitals of Europe by a full scale invasion of the Kurdish enclave in Syria.  This move was facilitated by the highly irresponsible withdrawal by President Trump of a batch of strategically placed U.S. troops.  To the Kurds who had fought alongside the Americans to contain ISIS, this is viewed as an act of betrayal.  President Erdogan has announced that if the E.U. makes moves to criticise this invasion, he will unleash 3.6 million refugees into Europe.  Turkey is a member of N.A.T.O. and quite how its other members view the prospect of Turkish F16 fighter jets bombing civilians remains to be seen.  However, what all of us should fear is the possible release of thousands of ISIS fighters held by the Kurds.  The Caliphate will rise again.

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