It’s YOUR fault Leo! Former diplomat humiliates Varadkar over Ireland’s Brexit blunder

Leo Varadkar discusses shared sovereignty and Brexit

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Ray Bassett said Ireland was now “paying the price” for siding with the bloc, suggesting reality had finally begun to bite. The former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas was speaking during a week when Brussels ordered Irish fishing crews to weigh all catches in port in a reversal of a previous policy, citing incidents of under-reporting.

Eurosceptic Mr Bassett, who outlined his various concerns in his book Ireland and the EU Post Brexit, said the episode was the latest example of the way in which the bloc was running roughshod over Dublin.

Arch-Europhile and Fine Gael leader Mr Varadkar, who was replaced as Ireland’s leader by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin last year, was widely perceived to have stayed closely aligned with then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker throughout the tortuous Brexit saga which followed the 2016 referendum.

Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: “Leo gambled that Brexit would be reversed and in concert with the Remainers in London and Brussels, he did everything he could to thwart the UK’s exit.

“The Irish establishment was 100 percent convinced that Juncker and his friends would prevail.

“This was bolstered by the Irish media who acted as an echo chamber for Leo throughout the negotiations.

“Also Leo believed that the anti-Brexit press in the UK was providing accurate readings of public sentiment in the UK.

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“Leo felt that the British establishment would be grateful for his efforts after Brexit had been defeated.”

Mr Bassett added: “I still remember meeting with some Irish Government officials after the defeat of Theresa May’s deal by more than 200 votes.

“As I said in my book, they look like they had been subjected to a very cold shower.

“They simply could not believe it. Reality had finally impinged on their thinking.

“Leo’s gamble had failed and Ireland is now paying the price for that miscalculation.”

In an article written for the Politico website and shared via Twitter, Mr Bassett referred to a speech delivered by Mr Varadkar during a webinar organised by the European Movement Ireland last week and attended by politicians from Britain and Germany.

During this, Mr Varadkar himself acknowledged the current situation Ireland found itself in was far from ideal.

He said: “The impact of Brexit is going to be profound and will forever change the web of relationships across these islands and within Europe.

“In practice, despite our enormous differences, Ireland aligned itself with the United Kingdom on most of the everyday issues that the European Union dealt with.

“As a free-trade, pro-enterprise and pro-competition champion, we tended to adopt similar positions and similar opt-outs to the UK.

“The United Kingdom, like Ireland, looks west to America as well as to Europe.

“And I do think the European Union without the United Kingdom is a different place.

“And it is a weaker and poorer place without Britain as a member, but that is their decision, and we respect it.”

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