EU told ‘get off Ireland’s turf’ after threats over peat cutting amid Brexit talks | World | News

The EU has been told to “get off Ireland’s turf” after it emerged the bloc threatened the country over farming. Brussels, Britain and Dublin are still locked in negotiations over the Brexit deal which sees goods checked between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. However, the bloc has now threatened Dublin over peat cutting.

Brendan O’Neill, chief political writer for Spiked, said the EU “needs to get off Ireland’s turf” amid anger over the Protocol.

He noted that the European Commission informed Ireland it would be taken to the European Court of Justice if it did not halt the cutting of peat in special conservation areas.

A statement issued by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said at the time: “Ireland strongly contends that the opinion does not take into full consideration the significant, investment and resources that are being placed by the State into the conservation and management of Ireland protected peatlands”.

Mr O’Neill pointed out the warning was issued two days before the 3Arena in Dublin hosted an event on a united Ireland. 

Writing for Spiked, Mr O’Neill said the EU warning, or “diktat” over peat cutting was an example of a “grave affront to the principle of Irish sovereignty”.

He said: “Let’s be plain about it: a nation that cannot control its own soil is not a free nation.”

The journalist then added: “From the EU’s challenges to aspects of Ireland’s tax system to its dispatching of the ‘Troika’ of powers in 2010 to reprimand the Irish government for its economic errors, almost every element of political decision-making in Ireland is now shaped by EU interference. 

“Ireland’s soil, its right to set taxes, its economic governance, its borders – all are arrogantly interfered with by commissioners no one in Ireland voted for. 

“We’re a long way from (James) Connolly’s vision of a free nation as one that has ‘complete control’ of its territory and which pursues whatever it believes to be in the interests of ‘its own people… entirely free of the interference of any other nation’. 

“Do the attendees of last Saturday’s United Ireland conference recognise that, today, Connolly’s vision is being battered, not by dastardly Britain, but by the EU many of them support?”

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Meanwhile, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said on Friday conversations with Britain had improved recently.

The minister added he felt there was a genuine effort to solve the problems which had emerged after Brexit.

He told reporters: “I think the conversations we’re having now with the British Government certainly suggest to me that we are in a different space now, one we haven’t been in for quite some time, where there is a genuine effort … on actually how we can solve these problems together.”

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