According to the Sun, the Republic of Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is an “EU toady” and an “air head”. The announcement comes after the Irish leader gave a press conference in which he explained how the government would be preparing for various different Brexit outcomes.
Varadkar suggested that the UK couldn’t expect continued use of EU airspace, including that over the Republic of Ireland, if it entered into a no-deal hard Brexit. This was hardly an original point – airline bosses including Ireland’s own Michael O’Leary have been warning about the impact of Brexit on the European Open Skies Agreement since 2016.
“The situation at the moment is that the United Kingdom is part of the single European sky, and if they leave the EU they are not and that does mean that if there was a no deal hard Brexit next March the planes would not fly and Britain would be an island in many ways and that is something that they need to think about,” Varadkar said.
But then he did the unthinkable – he attempted to, er, negotiate on behalf of his country.
Asked about the rights of Irish fishermen in UK waters after Brexit, he replied: “If they want their planes to fly over our skies, they would need to take that into account. You can’t have your cake and eat it.
“You can’t take back your waters and then expect to take back other people’s sky.”
Despite having no vote on Brexit, as the only EU country that shares a border with the UK, Ireland is directly affected by the vote and some estimate its economy will suffer more than the UK’s.
The Sun has defined this as a “Brexit strop”, and declared: “Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is a bigmouth and a fool, but his latest bone-headed outburst has done us all a favour. It has exposed beyond doubt both his crass naivety and the cynical deceit of the EU masters he cravenly obeys.” Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexiteer who gave the Sun its airhead quote, also dubbed the Taoiseach a “rather lightweight Irish gentleman”.
Presumably it would make a lot more sense to the Sun if the Irish gentleman in question ignored the union of which his country is an equal member and instead cravenly obeyed the country’s formerly colonial masters. No doubt that would send his popularity ratings with Irish voters sky high.