Brexit altered the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom in a profound way and led directly to the fall of two British prime ministers and contributed to the downfall of a third. The ongoing dispute over the Irish border continues to poison relations between the two countries and estrange the UK from its allies in Europe.
Ireland’s Call tells the inside story of how Irish political leaders and officials waged a successful diplomatic campaign to persuade the EU that whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations there could not be a hard border on the island of Ireland. The support of the EU institutions and member states for the Irish position caused consternation in London and triggered chaos in the House of Commons.
Through interviews with some of the leading players in the process and research into the behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity, Ireland’s Call reveals how the Irish campaign was devised and pursued. Along the way there were dizzying twists and turns but, in the end, the dogged persistence of the Irish government, supported by the serene determination of Michel Barnier and the EU negotiating team, shaped the terms of the UK’s departure.
Those unambiguous terms, agreed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and sold to the British voters as an ‘oven-ready’ deal, were subsequently disowned by him after a successful election campaign. This led to the bitter ongoing row over the Northern Ireland Protocol which has become a running sore in relations between Ireland, the UK and the EU.Ireland’s Call is essential reading for all those who want to know what really happened in the Brexit process so far and seek to understand where it is likely to end up.
Stephen Collins is a political columnist with the Irish Times and is the former political editor of the newspaper. He graduated from UCD with an MA in Politics and began his career as a journalist with the Irish Press group, becoming the political correspondent of the Sunday Press in 1987. He was later political editor of the Sunday Tribune before moving to the Irish Times where he was political editor for over a decade. He has written a number of books about Irish political history, the most recent being Saving the State: Fine Gael from Collins to Varadkar, which he jointly wrote with historian Ciara Meehan. Earlier books include The Power Game: Ireland Under Fianna Fáil and Breaking the Mould: How the PDs Changed Irish Politics. He lives in Dublin.
‘This book is compelling reading for anyone interested in recent Irish, British and, most of all, EU politics. It provides a unique insight into the protracted negotiations and reveals the truly surprising influence Ireland had within the EU on Brexit matters.’– Geraldine Kennedy, former editor of the Irish Times
‘A highly readable and insightful account of the most important Irish diplomatic campaign in recent times.’– Joe Joyce, co-author of the political classic The Boss: Charles J. Haughey in Government. His most recent novels are 1691 and No Second Take
‘A brilliantly written page-turner that expertly untangles the complexity of Ireland’s relationship with Brexit.’– Ciara Meehan, historian and author