Brexit: 'Ireland never believed it would happen' says Bassett

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Ray Bassett, former Irish Ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and Bahamas, suggests Ireland’s Government never believed Britain would see Brexit. Mr Bassett has told Express.co.uk then Irish leader Leo Varadkar and current foreign Minister Simon Coveney believed the EU would be able to overturn the referendum. The former diplomat has slammed Dublin for what he called “merciless” and “needless” attacks on Brexit Britain.

Mr Bassett said: “I’m quite convinced, in fact, they did say it to me, that at the early stages Ireland was absolutely convinced that Britain… that the Brexit referendum, the results of that would never be carried out.

“Because there was such a history of European Union being able to overcome these local democratic outcomes.

“So the view was and I heard it from themselves directly that, you know, Ireland would work with the sort of ‘responsible’ party in London, in other words, the remainers in London.

“To kind of thwart Brexit and that was the whole thrust of their programme.”

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He went onto claim: “If Brexit was going to occur it was going to occur in a very mild and meek form.

“So they put all their eggs in one basket, they put all their money on the European Union and essentially, attacked Britain, mercilessly.

“I mean Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney were at the forefront of attacks on Britain – it was completely needless given that we live on this kind of archipelago of islands together and our connections are so deep with the UK.”

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Mr Bassett said: “There’s no other country that can compare to it.

“I mean, we essentially have almost common citizenship with each other.

“If you arrived from London and Dublin, you can register for a vote.

“We don’t treat each other as foreigners. Yet, they were kind of trying to overturn several 100 years of history to create this sort of modern European identity.”

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The former Irish diplomat also believes the Irish Government is “very worried” about the UK’s threats to triggering Article 16.

Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: “On the overall picture Ireland is very worried and I saw the Taoiseach last night was very worried that the UK was going to invoke Article 16.

“Which would place us in a very, very bad position.”

He claimed: “There’s also a feeling quietly in Dublin that you know, we brought some of this ourselves.”

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