FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What does the term BREXIT refer to and what does it mean?
BREXIT is a media term. It refers to a non-binding June, 2016 referendum in the UK which approved Britain leaving the European Community of 27 nations. It is also refers to the proposals the UK will make to the EU in negotiating their leaving the Single Market and Customs Union. The break away from the EU will involve changes in trade, regulations, finance, immigration, citizenship status and human rights policies and the real prospect of the return of a hard border in Ireland.
2. How will UK’s BREXIT impact on the Republic of Ireland and the six counties referred to as Northern Ireland?
A British exit from the EU will leave the Republic of Ireland (26 counties) the only nation in the EU to share a British border i. e. N. I. six counties. Ireland will likely be severely impacted by any BREXIT policies especially tariffs, Foreign Direct Investment, EU Structural Funds, Farming grants and freedom of movement of EU citizens and peace process obligations.
Since the British have done little to define their exit proposals, we can only speculate on border and peace process issues. If, after EU negotiations BREXIT terms are agreed , then it is presumed its implementation will be phased in and begin in 2020. Irish exporters to UK most immediately affected by pound devaluation. Environment, energy, education sectors will also be affected.
3. How will the 1998 Belfast Treaty(GFA) between the UK and Ireland be affected by BREXIT?
The 1998 Belfast Agreement between Eire & UK to end the armed conflict was brokered and supported by the U. S. The British Conservative party currently in power has nothing but contempt for the Treaty (see Gove, THE PRICE OF PEACE).
The Cameron and May governments have done everything they can to obstruct fulfilling its obligations. The UK wishes to repeal the incorporation of European Human Rights Convention in UK law and has passed legislation to empower Ministers to ignore EU directives in decision making. Key justice provisions of the Good Friday Agreement have been ignored, corrective programs unfunded and justice obstructed. Conservatives are even proposing a bill to unilaterally provide amnesty for all British soldiers who killed innocent civilians. Irish Taoiseach Varadker says this not possible per the peace pact.
4. Will Britain be in some sort of distress and in need of US aid as a result of BREXIT?
As the world’s 6th largest economy, UK is well positioned to weather any EU exit storms. There will be certain negative impacts which will likely be borne Ireland, by N. I and Scotland. Brexit supporters believe that free from the EU they can negotiate better independent trade deals. UK must cut new trade deals with the US and other nations to mitigate BREXIT. If such deals can be agreed to they cannot go into effect until the divorce is finalized around January, 2020. The British PM has announced she expects US cooperation and assistance in helping to counter EU policies and negative effects of BREXIT. President Trump first promised the UK a great trade deal but recently publicly branded the UK Brexit options White Paper as an impediment to a US trade deal. The U. S. in 2017 had a trade surplus with the UK so it presumably is NOT a priority trade partner. On the other hand the EU is the second largest trading market in the world and a priority for US negotiation.
5. If the POTUS supports the UK’s economic Brexit plans which not only further damage the letter and spirit of the 1998 Belfast Treaty but harm the people of Ireland and its economy, how can Americans oppose or place conditions on any UK deals or conversely aid Ireland?
In America the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of State (DoS), the US Trade Representative and key Congressional Committees like Ways & Means, Foreign Affairs, Senate Foreign Relations and the Committee for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) control foreign policy, foreign trade and EU relations. In order to undermine American’s opposition, the UK, is regularly meeting with US businesses and officials. The American Brexit Committee is enlisting advocates to brief Members of Congress, to express written and vocal views to the above officials and insist on meetings to explain BREXIT consequences and what it will mean to America and to Ireland. If warranted we will ask Congress to withhold approval of U. K. trade deals and contracts. How America responds to the UK exit from the EU is primarily a concern for Americans. However, the ABC will add its voice of opposition Brexit policies that have a negative impact on Ireland, America’s longstanding ally.
6. How can tiny Ireland challenge or defend itself against BREXIT plans that impose economic hardship and/or violate Belfast Treaty obligations?
Every Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has publicly and privately stated that when America and Americans lend their voice to a position of the Irish government, the UK tends to listen more carefully. Britain has already ignored and obstructed some Treaty provisions. UK BREXIT policies or decisions, when implemented, may remove EU Human Rights provisions, delay legacy funding of inquests into killings of Catholics. U. S. cannot ignore the British failures with respect to the peace process e. g. Dublin/Monaghan bombings by British Army, MI-5 murder of Pat Finucane and murder of Rosemary Nelson, nor give up on justice for 300 Catholics murders that have yet to be investigated or given a Coroners Inquest. If US-UK trade deals are to be approved, military intelligence contracts awarded, waivers for things or landing and broadcast rights extended, then the U. S. is in a strong position to modify British action and secure compliance with treaty obligations and justice for victims’ families.
7. Will Britain’s leaving the EU affect the “special relationship” the US has with Britain?
The so-called ‘special relationship’ is a media fiction the British have been perpetuating since WW II and amounts to little more than UK doing whatever US requires including going to war no matter the merits. President Obama opposed Brexit claiming the UK could raise US concerns from inside the EU. Perhaps the US is ill equipped to make our own case to the EU on trade matters, but that is no reason to ignore or neglect the special relationship the US has with Ireland. America needs a partner in promoting democracy, justice and the rule of law and Ireland is obviously a better partner than the UK which has destabilized Irelands peace with assassinations of 5 elected officials, 2 lawyers, two priests and a journalist and hundreds of Her Majesty’s own Subjects.
Americans with the American Brexit Committee can persuade the US to assist Ireland or to object to UK governments Brexit positions as not being in the best interests of the US, justice, democracy or treaty obligations. The US Congress could hold up approval of military and intelligence ( spying) contracts; deny entry to US of British military and Ministers complicit in collusion with loyalist killers (Magnitsky and Leahy Laws); deny MLAT subpoena requests; and/or oppose British entry to NAFTA. TRIDENT submarine and military facilities could be cut back or military resources could be redeployed etc.
8. Is there any discernible impact of BREXIT on American citizens or the economy?
President Trump’s flip-flop trade policy and trade war threats makes this question difficult to assess at this time. However, there is no doubt that Ireland would be the most immediate and significant collateral damage of Brexit. Little evidence the present Conservative-DUP government in England is concerned about Irish impact but specific evidence of certain British officials gloating how they could make Ireland suffer.
AMERICAN BREXIT COMMITTEE, BOX 27296, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19118 email@example.com