The Irish border has proved to be a major obstacle in progressing Brexit talks, with politicians in EU-member Ireland seeking assurances there will be no return to a ‘hard’ border with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
Dublin’s effective veto over a Brexit ‘divorce’ package has meant some of the loudest cheerleaders for quitting the European Union have had to consider how people feel on the other side of the Irish sea.
But other people’s feelings don’t seem to be their strong suit, as critics have seized on some Brexiteers for being dismissive of their concerns or not really grasping basic details.
1. Bernard Jenkin: Thinks two former Irish leaders were “prime ministers of Northern Ireland”.
Appearing on Sky News, the Conservative MP suggested ex-Irish leaders were more amenable over the border issue than the present Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.
He said: “If you listen to Bertie Ahern, if you listen to Enda Kelly – these are two former Taoiseachs, Prime Ministers of Northern Ireland.
“They haven’t quite played ball like the present Irish Prime Minister.”
All you need know @bernardjenkin “enda kelly” Teeshock of northern Ireland #Brexit@SkyNewspic.twitter.com/A0HQ7jmRiQ
— Richard Moore (@Moorerichardpr) December 4, 2017
The former Fine Gael leader is actually called Enda Kenny, and Northern Ireland is not led by a Taoiseach. Social media was swift to point out the errors.
1. The man’s name is Enda Kenny, not Enda Kelly.
2. Northern Ireland does not have a Taoiseach because it is part of the UK. The Republic of Ireland has a Taoiseach.
A simple Wikipedia search would have cleared up both questions @SkyNewshttps://t.co/FVZHLjjsZe
— Grace Cuddihy (@GraceCuddihy) December 4, 20172. Iain Duncan Smith: Calls concerns over the border “this Irish stuff” and overplays Irish elections.
On the BBC, the ex-Conservative leader stated “this Irish stuff was not at this state some months ago”, suggesting Brexit talks had stalled because it would play well in Irish elections.
He said: “This Irish stuff was not at this state some months ago, now it’s suddenly become an issue because the Irish – for political reasons internally, presidential elections, disputes between two elements of the same party – they suddenly laid this on.
“And the EU, instead of saying to them, pull back for a second, let’s deal with this when we get to the trade arrangements, which would be logical sense, has actually backed them in this process.”