On Sunday the 10th of December, Vulcan Consulting CEO, Lucinda Creighton, appeared on RTÉ’s Marian Finucane Show. Speaking alongside her fellow panelists, Broadcaster & Columnist Olivia O’Leary, former CEO of NTMA Michael Somers, Deputy Editor of the Sunday Business Post Tom Lyons, and Irish Examiner columnist Adrian Weckler, Lucinda discussed the recent breakthrough in Brexit negotiations that should allow EU leaders to grant ”sufficient progress” on the first phase of issues. In addition, Lucinda and the panel spoke of the impact of Brexit on business, the text of the EU-UK agreement, and other issues dominating the news agenda. The show was aired live on Sunday the 10th of December but you can listen back to the show here.
Vulcan CEO, Lucinda Creighton, appeared on the RTÉ radio 1 Drivetime show with Mary Wilson on Thursday the 30th of November. In conversation with Mary and Ryan Heath, the Senior EU Correspondent at POLITICO, Lucinda provided her thoughts on the Irish government’s firm position on the issue of the Irish border in advance of the critical December EU Summit. The show was aired live on Thursday the 30th of November but you can listen back to the Brexit piece here.
Vulcan CEO, Lucinda Creighton, appeared on the TV3 The Tonight Show with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates on Wednesday the 29th of November to discuss Brexit and the issue of the Irish border in advance of the crucial EU December Summit. Speaking alongside her fellow panelists, Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee, President of the Irish Road Haulage Association Verona Murphy, and People Before Profit Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett, Lucinda shared her insights on the recent Brexit developments. The show was first aired on Wednesday the 30th of November but you can watch the playback here.
Vulcan CEO, Lucinda Creighton, appeared on BBC Newsnight on Monday the 27th of November as part of a piece that focused on the Irish government’s hardening position on the issue of the Irish border in advance of the crucial EU December Summit. Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s’ diplomatic editor, Mark Urban, Lucinda provided her analysis of the strategy being implemented by the Irish government and how the remaining EU member states firmly supported Dublin in its efforts. The programme was first aired on Monday the 27th of November but you can watch the playback here on the BBC iPlayer.
Vulcan CEO, Lucinda Creighton, spoke to the Financial Times journalist Arthur Beesley on the topic of the Irish border in the Brexit negotiations in advance of the EU December Council meeting. Speaking to the Financial Times, Lucinda said that “I think that we’re going to see very trenchant and dogmatic positions by the Irish government over the next four weeks”, before adding that ”There has to be something very meaningful by way of a commitment from the UK [over] there not being a physical border post-Brexit”.
Her comments appeared in a Financial Times Big-read article titled ”Brexit: Battle over Irish border threatens EU-UK trade talks”. It was first published on the 23rd of November 2017 but you can read the article here.
We have witnessed a lot of drama in the past few weeks as Brexit heats up. From Ireland’s point of view the stakes are high. The Government has taken a much more hard-line position in the past few months, particularly since Leo Varadkar took office in June. Since then both he and the Irish Foreign Affairs & Brexit Minister, Simon Coveney, have stuck to their guns in demanding that the UK spell out its vision for the island of Ireland post Brexit.
Their insistence on clarity and detail from London has been 100% correct. It is almost amusing to see how the UK has reacted so angrily to the position of the Irish Government. They seem incensed that the Irish Prime Minister and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs & Brexit should dare to endeavour to protect Irish interests. This is a strange way for senior Government figures in the UK to treat their nearest neighbour and closest ally in these negotiations. And they really ought to remember that Ireland istheir closest friend at the table – attacking and barracking our senior Ministers is not likely to foster good will whenever the negotiations proceed to trade talks.
A crucial European Summit will take place on December 14th and 15th. At this summit, EU Leaders from all 27 remaining member states will decide whether “sufficient progress” has been made on three issues in order to proceed to the next stage of the negotiations around the future trading relationship. The issues which must be progressed by then are the UK’s contribution to the EU budget, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and the question of the Irish border. It now seems that progress is being made on the first two items, but the Irish border has, so far, been treated like the poor relation. It simply has not been prioritised by the UK and no serious solutions have been posited.
Given that the Irish border, along with the very fragile peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, were highlighted repeatedly back in 2016 by the Irish as huge potential risks post-Brexit, it should not come as any surprise to the UK authorities that this issue is now central to the negotiations between the UK and the EU. However, it seems to be greeted with great surprise and a good degree of head scratching. While the British Government has repeatedly made vapid statements about a desire for a “frictionless” or an “invisible” border, no credible solutions have been put forward.
We have been treated instead to months and months of senior Government figures essentially saying nothing and providing no solutions. Yet in the past week, they have been keen to meet out criticism of the Irish Government for simply pointing out the obvious – that the UK appears not to have developed any proposals to solve the conundrum of Northern Ireland, and without solutions the process cannot move forward.
The UK has failed to understand the reasons for the Irish demand for progress in respect of the North. This lack of understanding alone, highlights a profound ignorance of the historical and political tensions within the North. That the British Government cannot appreciate that a physical border on the island, or the divergence of rules and laws between the North and South will cause major problems, shows just how far the UK Government and the British Conservative party have moved away from the compassion, concern and understanding of somebody like John Major, for example.
The Irish Government seems now to be the only custodian of the Good Friday Agreement which takes that responsibility seriously. The government understands that the peace enjoyed in the North was hard won and cannot be taken for granted – it could disappear very quickly if handled insensitively. The British Government shows no such nuance and at times seems to simply forget that Northern Ireland is even a consideration in the Brexit process, which for some is far more about global might and domination, than the best interests of UK citizens.
Theresa May and her Government may well be in for a shock at the December Summit if they continue to dismiss the concerns of the Irish Government on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland. They clearly want to unblock the current deadlock in negotiations and move on to a discussion about a transition deal and free trade arrangements. Interestingly, the Irish Government shares this desire more than any other nation. However the UK’s calculation that the Irish Government would relegate Northern Ireland as a political priority has proven to be very wide of the mark.
There is still some time and some hope that the green light can be given in December to move ahead with the Brexit negotiations, but at this stage it will really come down to whether the Irish Government is prepared to move forward. It is clear from the rhetoric of the EU’s Chief Negotiator, that the EU side will be led by Dublin on this question. The tail is certainly wagging the dog. The EU understands how sensitive the concerns of Northern Ireland are, and the negotiators are willing to defer agreement if the Irish Government deems it necessary.
The Taoiseach understands that if the UK government continues to bury its head in the sand in relation to the North he cannot agree to move forward. If the EU and UK negotiators move on to trade discussions without resolving, at least in principle, the issue of the North/South border, it may never be resolved. Moving on without any strings attached will most likely lead to a hard border with little or no mitigation envisaged by the British Government. This will be devastating for political and economic stability on the island of Ireland. The Taoiseach has shown maturity, resolve and determination in pursuing this issue on behalf of all of the people of Ireland. He is dead right.
Vulcan CEO, Lucinda Creighton, appeared on the Claire Bryne Live Show on Monday the 20th of November as part of a panel to discuss the recent developments in EU-UK Brexit negotiations. With the Irish Government recently adopting a much more hard-line position on the Irish Border issue in advance of the December EU Summit, Lucinda shared her insights on the developments with her fellow panelist, the former ambassador Ray Bassett. The show was aired live on Monday the 20th of December on RTE1 but you can watch it on playback here