- Nov 21, 2015
His view is grounded in a belief that Ireland’s relationship with the UK is more important than its membership of the EU.
“I remember getting a briefing on the Lisbon Treaty and the people had come back from Brussels and said, ‘There’s absolutely nothing in this for Ireland – by the way, our position deteriorates because our influence is less’.
“I remember saying: ‘Why should we vote for it?’ And they’d say, ‘Well, you know, Europe has been very good for us, and what’s good for Europe is good for us.’
I said that’s fine and all, and then we had the Lisbon referendum and the day or two after it, people in government were wondering how to reverse it.
“And it seemed to me that there’s something not quite kosher about this, you know . . . people will not accept views that are different from their own.
Bassett says that he advised that Ireland should strongly support the then British prime minister David Cameron’s attempts to negotiate a new relationship between the UK and the EU before the Brexit referendum.
“And I was told that wasn’t it, we had to show we were 100 per cent behind the EU,” he says.
“I thought it was madness what we did – row in with Juncker and all those people.”
The same mentality – following the EU line regardless of Irish interests – now threatens Ireland in the Brexit process to come, he believes.
Former ambassador condemns Ireland’s Brexit policy
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