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Irish Independent - THIRD LETTER DOWN
Varadkar has got it right about the Herculean task

May I make so bold as to elucidate for your readers a comment made by Leo Varadkar in his speech of welcome to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson? Leo offered to be "your friend and ally, your Athena" to Boris as he undertook the "Herculean task" of negotiating free-trade agreements with the EU and US and securing their ratification in less than three years.

For the benefit of those not classically trained, Hercules was obliged to perform the 12 labours as an act of penitence after he had descended into madness and murdered his wife, Megara, and his children.

At the moment he was about to go on and kill his foster father, Amphitryon, Athena intervened.

Seeing that he had gone mad, she struck Hercules down and knocked him out to prevent him causing more bloodshed than he had already done.

No doubt this was intended as an in-joke between some classicist in the Irish civil service and the classically educated Boris.

But the message is pretty pointed... we will knock you out rather than let you do more harm... and by the way, that's some task you are going to have to perform if you want free-trade agreements with the US and the EU.

Leo also mentioned that any free-trade agreement with the EU would have to be ratified by 31 parliaments within the EU.

The inference was clear: Ireland has a veto on any free-trade agreement the UK might seek with the EU - oh, and by the way, Ireland's EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has just been nominated for the EU's Trade Commissioner role, in charge of all trade negotiations.

Now about that Northern Ireland-only backstop that I was mentioning the other day ...

Frank Schnittger

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 14th, 2019 at 05:53:12 PM EST

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