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I am indebted to you for informing me that Ireland has sought observer status at the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie as this had not previously come to my attention.
I suspect the Irish government thought of it as nothing more than a friendly gesture towards a fellow EU member and an opportunity for some diplomatic networking. Certainly, what little coverage I have since discovered in the Irish media has been mostly in the context of using it as an opportunity to improve the teaching of French in Irish schools.
However, for your columnist, Robert Hardman, our Taoiseach, Leo Varadker, "Little Leo", stands accused of "do[ing] anything to suck up to the top gang in the EU playground..." and giving a "calculated two fingers to Brexit Britain" by applying for observer status at the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie rather than re-joining the British Commonwealth.
In doing so, according your columnist, Ireland is joining a group of "flimsily-connected" countries with "deplorable human rights records" and "French-speaking crooks", some of whom appeared "at the bottom of every global corruption index" - in contrast to the Commonwealth where Irish athletes could win "hatfuls of medals" at the Commonwealth Games.
Little matter that 17 other EU member states, including Cyprus, are also members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Little matter that Mauritius, the Seychelles, Dominica or Saint Lucia, other members of the Commonwealth, are also members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. And the less said about the human rights records of Commonwealth members Uganda, Kenya, Bangladesh, Nigeria or Papua New Guinea, the better.
The Irish Ambassador to the UK, Adrian O'Neill, has written to you accusing you of adopting an "anti-Irish tenor" in your recent publications, a charge you have robustly denied. Let me give you two further examples.
Your correspondent Liam Halligan "Leo Varadkar has done his absolute best to damage Brexit" accuses Varadker of abandoning the constructive approach of his predecessor, Enda Kenny, and politicising the Irish border issue.
Who knew that an international boundary between EU and non EU members states could be political? Who knew that the re-creation of a border which caused a civil war in Ireland in 1922 and led to the Troubles in N. Ireland up until 1998 would be a matter of concern to the Irish government?
I'm afraid the political nature of that border long predates Varadker's ascent to our highest office.
But the prize for stretching credulity to the point of incredibility must surely be John Waters' eye watering contribution "How the Irish see Brexit". Apparently, Brexit has caused the Irish people to become "befuddled" and "to lose all common sense"; to become cowed into quelling their "rebel spirit" and keeping silent.
I'm afraid it is the first I heard of it. Perhaps they're simply not saying what John Waters' wants to hear.
John Waters has been on the wrong side of history on every argument in the Republic since the 1980's, arguing for the invasion of Iraq, and against marriage equality and abortion rights. He claims that "had an Irexit-promoting party contested the 2011 election it would have swept the board".
Let's see how his Irexit candidate, Hermann Kelly, does in the European Parliament elections in Dublin next month. I would be very surprised if he exceeded 5% of the vote. Hardly "sweeping the board".
This may not be the message from Ireland that you want to hear. But is not part of the problem with negotiating Brexit to date a failure to understand what the other side has been thinking?
(h/t Bernard, for some facts relating to the Francophonie above!)
Index of Frank's Diaries
I had gathered the facts because fellow ETribers are interested in that kind of stuff (I know I am), but how dare you let them loose on the Spectator's Editorial board? Doncha know that facts have a well known anti-Brexit bias?
(Oh, and thanks for trawling that mud pit so that we don't have to)
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