Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has eased off on his normally diplomatic and understated style to claim that parts of the British ruling establishment are annoyed that Ireland has not fallen into line with the UK over Brexit.
Ireland is at the heart of the Brexit negotiations because of the need for a solution to the problem of the Northern Ireland border with the Republic, which will also become the border between the UK and European Union.
Mr Varadkar was speaking to business leaders at the Getting Ireland Brexit Ready Convention in Dublin when he highlighted the attitude of some people in Britain, who he believes didn’t fully consider or understand the impact Brexit would have on Ireland and the UK.
Mr Varadkar said: “I think there are different strains in Britain and a lot of people in Britain have great affection for Ireland and they understand our concerns and they did think of the impact in Ireland before the referendum.
“But quite frankly there are others who didn’t, and you do come across people in the British establishment who can’t believe we won’t fall into line.
“They thought ‘sure you’ll be leaving too, won’t you’ and the fact that we aren’t and the fact we stood up for ourselves has made some of them quite annoyed, but so be it.
“That’s elements of the establishment. You’d swear we created the problem.”
Mr Varadkar said that he had a very good personal relationship with British Prime Minister Theresa May but sometimes that became a bit strained “because of Brexit which has created a disturbance in the force.”
He defended the stance taken by Ireland and the EU that there must be no hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland to ensure gains brought about by the Good Friday Agreement are not undermined.
“We think the rules we have had up until now worked reasonably well and we are trying to protect the gains of the peace process and protect the relative prosperity we have enjoyed in the last couple of decades.”
The frustration felt by Mr Varadkar and other Irish politicians is partly caused by the level of ignorance about Ireland shown by many British politicians in statements like these: