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Pessimism grows in Dublin over protocol
There is growing pessimism among senior Irish Government figures about the prospects for agreement between the British government and the EU on the Northern Ireland protocol, and acute concern over the implications of the continuing dispute for political stability in the North.


And while some officials and under-the-radar contacts continue, even at ministerial level this week - and Taoiseach Micheál Martin stressed the need for dialogue between the EU and UK on Wednesday - the truth is that relations between Dublin and London continue to trundle along at a nadir. Unsurprisingly, Ministers and officials are deeply worried about that.

For months it has been both an analytical problem and a diplomatic parlour game in Dublin, trying to figure out if Boris Johnson's government actually wants a solution to the protocol problems, or is it just interested in stoking division with the EU for domestic political purposes.

Not just in Dublin, either; in his Lisbon speech on Tuesday, the EU's Brexit minister and chief negotiator David Frost specifically denied that Downing Street saw any domestic political advantage in continuing Brexit disputes.

This is widely disbelieved in many EU circles. In Dublin, there are mixed views. One senior official reckons it's a bit of both; part searching for a solution, part happy to continue a fractious process that offers the potential for "Boris bashes Eurocrats" headlines.

What concerns Dublin most is not the British motivation but the results of the continuing conflict over the protocol, and the potential for further political polarisation and destabilisation in the North.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie, highly thought of in Dublin, warned of the need for the EU and UK to open meaningful negotiations in order to find a solution. The possible consequences are clearly on his mind too.

"A brick will turn into a petrol bomb and a petrol bomb will turn into a coffin," he warned.

Under pressure from the protocol disputes, he said, Stormont institutions could collapse; indeed DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has expressly threatened this move. "If Stormont collapses, there'll be a power vacuum and a power vacuum can lead to violence," Beattie said.

This realisation is shared in Dublin and it is what is driving the Government's silent and barely concealed fury with Frost and Johnson.

One senior Government official involved in Northern Ireland affairs tells colleagues on an almost daily basis that the Conservative administration in Westminster are "vandals" when it comes to the Belfast Agreement. They will destroy it without a second thought, the official warns.

Tweets by Johnson's former adviser Dominic Cummings claiming that the prime minister signed up to the protocol as a deliberate act of deception have only heightened feelings in Dublin and around the EU.

"Frost has blown out of the water any idea that they are acting in good faith," said another source. "The only question is how much damage they are prepared to do to Northern Ireland and to the Good Friday Agreement."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 04:41:26 PM EST
with elections next year, I'm not sure collapsing Stormont would help the unionists very much at all.

Every display of all or nothing absolutism makes them increasingly distasteful to a majority of the working population. If they get creamed in the elections, they'll be locked out of govt forever. This is an existential crisis for unionism and they don't seem to get it.

The future and change always create problems for conservatives and the more conservative, the more they try to prevent change. But the harder they try, the greater will be the deluge that wipes them out.

And once they're out of government, the police will have no excuse for not clamping down on the paramilitary bullshit they surround themselves with

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 05:26:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be gratifying to see the marchers put to rout by police. Hard to imagine these geniuses would let the mere lack of a permit prevent them from marching.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 11:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Won't happen. Most loyalists have family in the security forces and regard them as "theirs", and there were calls for the Chief Constable to resign when the police were deemed to be insufficiently enthusiastic abut prosecuting nationalists who flouted public gathering regulations at a funeral...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 10:45:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if the Unionist are voted out of power in N.I.? How about if the N.I. population votes to unite Ireland?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 03:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Things will change, but very slowly at first...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 03:44:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cops here still back Der Drumpfenfuehrer.  That should tell you all you need to know about how much they care who is in office or how "their guy's" supporters behave.
by rifek on Sat Oct 16th, 2021 at 02:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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