They say time can be a great healer. And, in the case of Leo Varadkar, it seems that even the most festering of wounds can be fixed by a brief stint away from the premiership.
Varadkar, who became Taoiseach again in December, was one of the great antagonists in the Brexit battles during his first stint as Irish leader between 2017 to 2020. He suggested that Europeans no longer felt welcome in Britain, accused Leavers of ‘chasing unicorns’ and claimed last July that the government was not being ‘even-handed’ on post-Brexit arrangements.
So it was with some surprise then that Mr S awoke to see news of a volte-face from Varadkar. The Taoiseach has now accepted the protocol which he negotiated with Boris Johnson is ‘too strict’, that it ‘has worked without it being fully enforced’ and that both he and European Commission Ursula von der Leyen are now ‘willing to show flexibility and to make compromises.’ He also went further, admitting that: ‘I’m sure we’ve all made mistakes in the handling of Brexit.’ Quick, someone check the water at Steward’s Lodge.
‘There was no road map, no manual, it wasn’t something that we expected would happen and we’ve all done our best to deal with it,’ added Varadkar, who acknowledged unionist fears that the treaty ‘creates barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland that didn’t exist before.’ Better late than never? Or just a clever Dublin ploy to get power-sharing back up at Stormont?
At least it’s some acknowledgment that the EU and Ireland weren’t blameless in the Brexit talks. Thoughts and prayers with the FBPE (Follow Back Pro EU) contingent today.