Ray Bassett, former Irish ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, issued his stark warning in his new book, Ireland and the EU post Brexit. Mr Bassett believes the time has come for a serious discussion about whether Ireland – now led by Taoiseach Micheal Martin – belongs in the European Union at all, questioning the benefits membership brings. To illustrate his point, he wrote: “The UK under current arrangements only takes around 40 percent of the total fish catches in its waters, a disappointing figure from a British point of view.
“But it is still well above Ireland’s share in our own waters.
“There are conflicting estimates of the percentage of total fish catch taken by Irish boats, in Irish waters.
“When I requested the information from the Irish department of Agriculture Food and the Marine under the Freedom of Information procedure, they were unable or willing to come up with a similar figure.
“However while it varies from year to year all agree that it is below 30 percent and make be as low as 16 percent of the total.
“This is an area where there is a universal agreement in Ireland that’s the country has gotten very poor treatment from the EU down the years.
“The Irish state territory represents four-fifths of the land area of the island of Ireland together with its exclusive economic maritime zone.
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Moreover, Mr Bassett paints a gloomy picture of what Ireland’s future within the EU will look like.
He explained: “As the effects of Brexit finally take shape Ireland will find itself on the extreme Western fringe of the European Union.
“The centre of gravity of the Union will have shifted further eastwards.
“The Republic of Ireland is four-fifths of an offshore island, which is positioned behind a larger offshore island that is no longer a member of the European Union.
“Ireland will suffer from a major physical dislocation from the main centres of power and influence in the EU.
“Brussels is hoping for a further expansion to the east (Ukraine and Turkey) and the South (Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania) thus placing greater influence on central Europe.
“It will become an increasingly peripheral environment for an anglophone state on the extreme west of Europe.
“Former commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted at a conference in Italy on May 5th 2017 triumphantly claiming that already ‘English is losing importance in the EU’.
“Hardly a comforting thought for the linguistically challenged Irish politicians and officials.”