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Brexit dissension set to continue

posted Nov 4, 2019, 11:45 AM by Bernard O'Hara
The dissension arising from the 23 June 2016 referendum, when the people of the United Kingdom (UK) voted by a majority of 51.9 % to leave the European Union (EU), shows no sign of abating. The decision has caused political turmoil since, fracturing political parties, damaging organisations, dividing families, and leading to considerable personal abuse. The fallout has led to the early retirements of two Prime Ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May. We now have a general election, which is unlikely to resolve the dissension and unite the country.
Formal notification of withdrawal from the EU was given in March 2017, starting a two year process that was to have concluded by 29 March 2019. To the surprise of many, especially having regard to the small margin in favour of leaving, the UK opted for a hard Brexit. A withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU was finalised in November 2018, but the UK parliament voted against it three times. The new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, stated on numerous occasions that the UK was leaving the EU with or without an agreement on 31 October 2019. He negotiated a revised withdrawal agreement, dropping the December 2017 Irish backdrop, which was intended as a guarantee that the final agreement would impose no customs border on the island of Ireland and contain no significant regulatory differences between North and South. Under the new agreement between the UK and the EU 27, Northern Ireland, while legally within the UK customs union, will retain most of the benefits of the EU customs union and the single market provided it is approved by a majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Parliament was unable to pass the necessary legislation to meet 31 October deadline, and it has now been extended for the third time, with the current one scheduled for, or before, 31 January 2020.The slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ gives the impression that Brexit is achieved once the withdrawal agreement is approved by the House of Commons. This is an illusion, as it is only the start of a new phase of what will be difficult negotiations during the no-change transition period, which may have to be extended.
The origin of all the dissension took place when the June 2016 referendum was announced with no proper document published explaining clearly all the issues involved. This was aggravated by a lot of misinformation, the introduction of many extraneous issues, and simplistic messages like ‘taking back control’. In the process, unrealistic expectations were fostered, which could never be attained. The UK has stated that it wants to leave the EU Single Market and the Customs Union, control immigration, as well as end the jurisdiction of the European Court. They also want full free trade with the EU, while not been bound by the rules and regulations of membership. It is slowly being realised that all these objectives are not attainable, hence the confusion and dissension. It is a fallacy to suggest that gains from new trade deals will more than offset the losses arising from free access to EU markets. New trade deals will lead to a divergence from EU rules and regulations, which will make a favourable agreement more difficult. The closer the UK keeps to EU regulations the easier it will be to negotiate a mutually advantageous deal. The Financial Times specified that leaving the EU involves the UK having to negotiate 759 international agreements with 168 countries, as well as disentangling a huge amount of legislation. This will not be an easy process. If and when the House of Commons approves the withdrawal agreement, Brexit will be far from done, with many difficult days and big decisions ahead.
Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at, or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press ( and is available from and It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).