In an extraordinary op-ed in the Guardian Newspaper an ex-Irish ambassador to Britain, Bobby McDonagh, has accused the British of complete ignorance of Ireland.
Former Irish ambassador to Britain Bobby McDonagh, who retired in 2013, has slammed the level of ignorance British politicians have on Ireland and the overwhelming need to continue the no hard border policy between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, which is under threat from Brexit.
It is likely such a tough stance from a former leading diplomat was okayed at the highest levels of the Irish government where there is deep anger over British right-wing demands to reinstate the border.
McDonagh's Guardian op-ed is one of the hardest attacks in memory on the British establishment and how they have handled the Brexit issue.
He accuses the British of the misunderstanding of Ireland’s intelligence ”not a new phenomenon of course, but one that had seemed to be a thing of the past.“
McDonagh accuses them of misreading Ireland’s resolve to keep the Good Friday Agreement intact.
“Many in London also fundamentally misread Ireland’s resolve. They believed that the Irish government was grandstanding and would eventually cave in. That particular penny has now dropped.”
He also attacked “the depth of ignorance about Irish politics, including from some Conservative MPs, has truly made us laugh rather than cry... More significantly, there has been a serious underestimation of the depth of public support in Ireland for the Irish government’s policy.”
McDonagh stated the British have fundamental misconceptions about the Irish.
“Most importantly of all, many in London have significant misconceptions about Ireland’s friendship for Britain and for its people.
“The mutual affection and respect which characterized Queen Elizabeth’s state visit to Ireland in 2011 are now deeply rooted in Irish minds and hearts. They will not be dislodged by the aggression and condescension that has characterized some of the recent comment from London. Not even by Patel.”
(Priti Patel the former British government minister who endorsed cutting off British food supplies to Ireland.)
“The affection and respect between our peoples will transcend Brexit, if it happens. But equally our friendship with Britain today is one of equals and will not deflect us, as committed and confident members of the European Union, from pursuing our interests, none of which is greater than maintaining the status quo of the Good Friday agreement insofar as that is possible in the circumstances created by Brexit.”