|Brexit & Ireland:" The Dangers, the Opportunities,
and the Inside Story of the Irish Response (Penguin Books, 2018,
384 pp.) has quickly become an indispensible guide to understanding Britainís
departure from the European Union.
date, it is the only published work that addresses the big, looming questions
over the Irish border, customs union and single market. Writing in the
Times, former Taoiseach, John Bruton, has even gone so far as to say,
"This excellent bookÖ ought to be read in every European capital."
But the untold story of Irelandís response to Brexit is as complex as
it is fascinating. Telling it would be a mammoth task. And that is why
Penguin Books looked no farther than Tony Connelly.
Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Connelly is a Derry native. He
graduated high school a mere two miles from the Irish border, having attended
St. Columbís College (whose alumni include Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney
and John Hume). From there, Connelly studied at Trinity College, Dublin,
before embarking on a career as a journalist. He has been reporting on
Europe since 2001, and was recently appointed Europe Editor for RTÉ
Impressed by Connellyís Brexit coverage, Penguin approached him with
a book deal back in February, 2017. Connelly leapt at the opportunity,
and "spent every waking moment" researching, reporting and writing, with
the first draft of the manuscript timetabled for early June.
"My aim was to write a good explainer," said Connelly.
The book follows a succinct, easy-to-read linear narrative. It begins
with vivid descriptions of referendum night and ends with the first round
of Brexit negotiations. Each chapter moves from the granular day-to-day
details of farms that straddle the border, fishermen that struggle to eke
out a living, and mushroom producers put out of business by currency fluctuations,
to weighty issues of foreign policy and palace intrigue.
This "hybrid narrative" was a crucial, but well-executed component of
"Given that the story was unfolding at the time of writing and proofreading,"
Connelly remarked, adding that "minor changes were being made right up
until the final week of August."