Just before European Union leaders agreed their guidelines for the Brexit negotiations last week, the president of the EU council, Donald Tusk, said: It is clear that progress on people, money and Ireland must come first. It was rather startling to find Irish concerns up there on the list of fundamental priorities, with the rights of EU citizens in Britain.
And when the guidelines were agreed upon, it was clear that this was more than rhetoric. EU governments have essentially committed themselves to allow Northern Ireland to rejoin the EU if Ireland is united. This is a very big deal and rather startling to find Irish concerns up there on the list of fundamental priorities.