By John McNeillIn his article, ‘When the Irish Left for Europe’, Irish Times columnist John McNeil outlines the reasons why the Irish voted for leaving the EU in 2015 and why the new Ireland he describes is not the same Ireland he left.
The article, which appeared in Irish Times on Thursday, was the first of many written in the months since the referendum and the Brexit vote.
Mr McNeil says that the country’s political leaders have been too weak and indecisive and his analysis of what the country has lost is a reminder of how fragile our democracy can be.
“In 2015, the Brexit referendum had an impact on Ireland’s political leadership and the country lost its way.
They had lost the confidence of their own people, they were weak and they were indecisive,” he said.”
There were some things that were said in the referendum that were really dangerous.”
It was a shock and it was a wake up call to all of us that we have got to be strong, that we can win the confidence and we can change the country.
“This was a time when people did not trust politicians.
I think this is something that was reflected in the vote, that the public did not like politicians and I think that is what the Irish electorate did.”
I think the message that we got across in that referendum was that there are limits to what you can say, what you will do, and that you can’t go too far.
“You can’t do too much too fast, you can only do too little.
I feel like that is where we have gone wrong.”
That is what I feel the most, that you cannot do too many things too quickly.
“When you are thinking about a country that is a major international economic power like the UK, we need to be very clear and we need people to be quite clear and be very confident that we will get our country back.”
The public has lost confidence in politicians and that is reflected in this referendum.
They did not vote for us and that has hurt us.”‘
It is a shock to see the country come apart’The referendum result was a “shock to see what has happened in Ireland, to see it come apart”, Mr McNeil wrote.”
What I am saying to you now is that in the past, the Irish have always done things in a very good way, they have always made the right decisions, they always had the will and the courage.
“But the times are changing.
The times are not right and I hope that we are still going to be a strong country, we are going to have a great economy, we will be strong politically, we have a good social contract, we can still have a successful marriage.”
And we are very strong socially and economically.
“So we are not a country where people go to the polls and say, ‘I will never vote for you again.'”
I feel the country is coming apart, but it is a great country.
We are not going to lose anything.
We will be great again.
“Our country is still very strong.”‘
The Irish will never leave’The article said that while the country would be better off with a united Ireland, it will never be “great enough”.
“I am not suggesting that the Irish will leave.
The Irish will always stay, but the Irish are going on the journey to be better and we will not get there by voting for the UK again,” Mr McNeill wrote.
He also said the Irish people were “willing to do things their own way”.
“What the Irish say is, ‘let’s not be divided by the EU’, which means we will never let the EU go, we would never let that go.”
We are going through the journey, and if you want to go along with that, go along.””
We have a country, which is very proud of our past and very proud to be part of the European Union, but we will always be Irish.
We have to be proud of who we are, we cannot be divided.
“They will always have a strong Ireland, a strong society and a strong economy.
They will never go away.
We know what our future will look like.
We just have to look at it from the different perspectives, but they are going forward.”
If you want the Irish to stay in Europe, you will have to do your own thing.
We want them to stay, we know how much we want them, we love them, and they will stay.
“For now, we just want to be there for the journey.”
Mr McNeill’s article comes as he reviews the work of Irish-based research organisation Euad and looks ahead to the next stage of the country-wide research into Irish identity and the future of Irish society.
The group’s latest report, ‘Irish Identity: A Global Survey’, will be published next week.