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Features > Border Dispute: a leading Tory peer warns that this ‘dismal enterprise’ of leaving the EU threatens the Good Friday Agreement

14 February 2018 | by Chris Patten

Border Dispute: a leading Tory peer warns that this ‘dismal enterprise’ of leaving the EU threatens the Good Friday Agreement

Brexit and Ireland

 

British and Irish alike, we have made a pretty bloody mess of sharing the islands we inhabit off the coast of Western Europe over the last few centuries. Like millions of others in Britain, I am a consequence of one episode in that story: the great-grandson of an Irishman who left County Roscommon in the 1840s, a refugee from the famine and from a town smaller today than it was then.

There is little to be said for attempting a calculus of blame for what went wrong during our common story, a roll call of mostly British villains. But we can at least try to learn from history. Louis MacNeice’s father, a very moderate Church of Ireland bishop in violent times, thought that remembering the past should make it easier to forget it.





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