London, Britain. Most UK voters think the Brexit is a done deal and that their elected officials are busy preparing the EU-UK divorce, but that is not exactly the case as we discover one Irish official charged with implementing the Brexit, but doing everything possible to prevent it.
The British government is gradually understanding Brexit is “an act of great self-harm” and that upcoming EU-UK negotiations must seek to limit the damage, the State’s top Brexit official has said. His remarks came as a surprise, given he is involved in assisting the agreements smooth implementation, not blocking it any way possible.
The official, John Callinan, said on Thursday: “I see signs in the contacts that we’re having, both at EU level and with the UK, of a gradual awareness that Brexit in many ways is an act of great self-harm, and that the focus now is on minimising that self-harm.” Callinan could not go into details about steps he or others in his work group were taking to steer the Brexit away from a real EU-UK final divorce.
The statement by Mr Callinan, the second secretary-general at the Department of the Taoiseach in Ireland, were delivered at a Brexit seminar organised by the trade unions Impact and Siptu. The unions and liberal elements fear the Brexit will cost the UK a social safety net they see enhanced by EU membership.
Secretary Callinan also highlighted the existence of internal divisions on the British side just weeks out from the start of formal withdrawal negotiations with the EU, saying it was clear there was “no single, settled position” on Brexit in London. “Even within the British government, there are very different views,” Callinan said.
Mr Callinan, along with other Irish officials and Ministers, has been in regular contact with his British counterparts since the UK’s referendum on EU membership last June, in an effort to push key Dublin concerns to the top of the Brexit agenda.