Thursday, 31 January 2019


The Editorial in the February 2019 issue of Newslink, the diocesan magazine for Limerick & Killaloe.

I confess to following Brexit news compulsively, rubbernecking a slow motion wreck. The UK is split down the middle between leavers and remainers. The political class is having a nervous breakdown with no majority in the London Parliament for anything. Just weeks from Brexit day no one knows whether ‘no deal’, a more or less ‘soft deal’, or staying in the EU will prevail, but ‘no deal’ looks ever more likely.  Governments and major companies are triggering their plans for the UK crashing out. Whatever happens, the UK will never be the same again, and I fear it will become a poorer and more bitter place to live.

Brexit drives a knife through my heart and my family. I am an Irish citizen and a proud European, but
also a British citizen by right. My children and all but one of my seven grandsons were born in Britain and are British citizens. With Brexit they lose their current right to move freely to study, work and live throughout the EU27, unless they apply for Irish citizenship through me.

A ‘no deal’ Brexit would affect all of us on this island profoundly, making us poorer at least in the short term – perhaps a bit like the Economic War of the 1930s. Tariffs and new regulatory checks would disrupt supply chains and increase costs. Farmers and agri-business would likely suffer most, though I expect the EU would assist those in the Republic.

I expect the RCB, Standing Committee and Bishops have been making their own contingency plans. I hope they receive good financial advice to preserve the Church’s capital reserves so far as possible. Cross-border dioceses will no doubt suffer significant inconvenience. Clergy will be concerned how their pensions may be affected. For General Synod 2019 in Derry in May, will southern members need to show identity papers, and will members who are citizens of other EU countries need visas? It is time the Bishops and central church outline their Brexit contingency plans.

In the meantime, let us pray for reconciliation amid Brexit turmoil – see the prayer below.

God bless,
Joc Sanders, Editor


A Prayer for reconciliation amid Brexit turmoil

God of our reconciling hope,
as you guided your people in the past
guide us through the
turmoil of the present time
and bring us to that place of flourishing
where our unity can be restored,
the common good served
and all shall be made well.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

(by the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn)

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