Irish politician's devastating attack on EU revealed: 'They walked away from us!'

THE EU "walked away from the Republic of Ireland in its time of need", Irish politician Dara Calleary in an unearthed article.

The Republic of Ireland and the UK joined the EU in 1973 when it was known as the European Economic Community. After the 2016 referendum revealed its electorate no longer wanted to be part of the EU, the UK – including Northern Ireland – opted to leave the trading bloc. There have been ongoing discussions about how to address the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic ever since.

The concept of a temporary backstop, which would keep Northern Ireland in the single market, was introduced by Theresa May’s government – but the idea failed to win the support of Parliament.

The withdrawal bill – which included the backstop – was then repeatedly rejected, so Mrs May asked for a Brexit extension until October 31.

The Northern Irish backstop has caused great upheaval, as the Republic does not want to enforce a hard border between itself and its Northern neighbour.

Some fear such a border may rekindle the tensions of the past, so Ireland’s relationship with the EU has been called into question and some have asked if the Republic should follow the UK’s example.

Leo Varadkar and Dara Calleary

Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland, and Dara Calleary, Irish politician (Image: GETTY)

Leo Varadkar and Jean-Claude Juncker

Leo Varadkar and Jean-Claude Juncker (Image: GETTY)

In a 2016 article published shortly after the Brexit referendum, the Irish Examiner revealed that a former junior minister for the Republic, Mr Calleary, raised questions about his country’s place in the EU.

He said: “We have to look into our own hearts and ask if there was a referendum on our membership of the European Union in the morning, how it would go. 

“We cannot give a guarantee as we used to.”

Mr Calleary is now the deputy leader of the Republican party Fianna Fáil which now sits on the opposition benches in the Dail.

READ MORE: Northern Irish First Minister's reveals EU's backstop tactics

Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar

Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar (Image: GETTY)

He explained that the EU played a huge part in Brexit.

He said: “The European Union cannot be allowed to exempt itself from criticism.

“I was struck all week in watching the response of the [European] Commission and the Parliament to see that they were blaming Britain, politicians and everybody else, but they need to look at themselves, too, particularly in their engagement with this process in the coming weeks and months.”

Mr Calleary was a junior finance minister between 2008 and 2011, when the Republic was struggling after the banking crisis and needed financial help from the EU.

DON'T MISS
How EU admitted it wanted to punish Britain – ‘We want to shoot!’ [REVEALED]
Eurovision: Does 'RIDICULOUS' voting system mean UK can NEVER win? [ANALYSIS]
EU's secret plan to force Ireland to vote again REJECTED Lisbon Treaty [VIDEO]

Leo Varadkar meeting President Emmanuel Macron

Leo Varadkar meeting French President Emmanuel Macron (Image: GETTY)

Leo Varadkar in discussion with Theresa May, former PM

Leo Varadkar in discussion with Theresa May, former PM (Image: GETTY)

The bloc only agreed to help if the Irish gave up their corporation tax rates and imposed a programme of austerity.

He said: “I firmly believe the European institutions walked away from us in our time of need. 

“The Commission, in its dealings with us and particularly in its dealings with Greece, in the way it rammed home an austerity programme which did not stand for anything in terms of cuts but re-engineered society, was wrong and removed from the principles of the European Union and its establishment, principles that hold today.”

Mr Calleary is referring to Greece’s government-debt crisis of 2015, when the EU offered to bail the country out – if it accepted harsh austerity conditions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Leo Varadkar

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Leo Varadkar (Image: GETTY)

Greece’s electorate voted against the offer of assistance, but its government went against the will of the people and accepted the programme anyway. 

More recently in 2018, The Irish Times found Mr Calleary said Ireland “still risk[s] being the meat in the Brexit sandwich”.

As the Republic is a close neighbour of the UK, its economies are strongly connected and therefore likely to be affected by Brexit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mrs May’s successor, has promised to take the UK out of the EU by October 31, with or without a deal.