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Irish-British relations a long way from 1998 heyday
All the many accounts of the Belfast Agreement, signed 20 years ago, attest to the extraordinarily close and productive working relationship that quickly grew up between the then taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the British prime minister Tony Blair after both men were elected in 1997.


But that relationship has decayed. The annual summits have fallen into abeyance. Senior officials in both governments acknowledge the lack of chemistry between Theresa May and Leo Varadkar, a factor which is the source of much understatement but is a significant factor.

Senior officials no longer have long meetings about the North which finish with a decent lunch. The North has slipped down the priority list in Dublin; it has disappeared off it completely in London.

But above all, perhaps, the two governments find themselves on different sides of the most divisive issue since the IRA campaign - Brexit.

"The relationship is now 100 per cent about Brexit," says one senior source.

"There's quite a lot of mutual suspicion, I'm afraid," says one figure in Dublin. "It's Brexit. It's just strained everything."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 30th, 2018 at 10:10:55 AM EST

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