Irexit

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Irexit (Irish exit, get it!?, in Irish it called "Éire Amach", lit. Ireland out) is an astroturfed campaign for Ireland to leave the European Union. Such a campaign gained huge light after the Brexit referendum, especially since the problems of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and how this will affect the Anglo-Irish TreatyWikipedia's W.svg which established the recognition of the state of Ireland.

Background[edit]

Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973 at the same time as the UK and joined the single market of the EU in 1993. Since joining, support in Ireland of the European Union has been very high, usually between 80 to 95% [no joke!]. Much of this support is due to the huge economic growth that Ireland has received in that time, mainly by vast foreign investment and European regional support. This turned the island from a relative economic backwater to a country with one of the highest GDP per head of capita in the union.

Even during the economic crisis, which much of it was due to dodgy finance and over-valued assets such as from the Anglo-Irish BankWikipedia's W.svg and Quinn GroupWikipedia's W.svg, support for Irish membership never really dipped as much of the blame was placed on the governments of Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen.

Like any country that is a member, Ireland does have some sensitive areas against the European Union. These are mainly due to these three things:

  1. Foreign affairs, concerning Irish neutrality
  2. Social affairs, in relation to areas of traditional Catholic dogma such as abortion, divorce, child welfare and contraception, and
  3. Tax affairs, in about Ireland’s low corporation tax of 12½% and generous tax breaks for overseas companies like Apple and Google.

Many of Ireland's eurosceptics have been using these three things as weapons against Ireland's membership. Examples of this include the conservative Catholic organisation CóirWikipedia's W.svg, which campaigns against the EU on the alleged basis of trying to liberalise Ireland's social affairs, especially abortion.

Irexit[edit]

Since Brexit was formed in 2016, many British Brexiteers have "discovered" that due to policies that are covered by both the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Belfast Agreement [aka Good Friday Agreement] (to which Ireland is a signatory) has meant that there has to be a "frictionless border", an international border without checks and roadblocks between the UK and Ireland. This means that from the UK perspective, the UK would have to be completely intertwined with the EU on various policies, it gives in the effect of Brexit in name only. From this, worries about losing a major economic partner in the United Kingdom and attempts to bubble the populism of the U.S. and the UK, there been a growing attempt to build an Irexit narrative in Ireland.

In September 2018 such as an Irexit party was established in form of the Irexit Freedom to Prosper Party, now known as the Irish Freedom PartyWikipedia's W.svg by conservative newspaper columnists, Hermann Kelly and John Waters. Interestingly, the Brexit Party's leader Nigel Farage was present in the party's launch in Dublin, which naturally raised eyebrows. Also, there have been questions of where the finance of the party has come from, as it is such a fringe viewpoint. However, the attempt was a washout with recent 2019 European and local elections placing them in the doldrums.

Hermann KellyWikipedia's W.svg also has an intriguing past, as previously he was an advisor to Farage in the European Parliament, notably tried to deny the existence of Magdalene laundries [1] and he is only Irish in fact that he was born in Northern Ireland.

There have also been other links between Irexit and the British far-right. An astroturf group called ”Muintir na hÉireann” (People of Ireland) which is named after a former far-right party of the same name and is based in a house in England, has been linked to various British far-right groups including UKIP and the BNP. [2]

References[edit]

See also[edit]