SOMETIMES politics, for all the talking, doesn’t have the vocabulary to express itself.

The UK’s exit from the European Union has seen politicians lose the ability to communicate. Or so it seems. Some miscommunications are deliberate: saying one thing, while doing another.

Opponents of Brexit fear further instability, but its supporters continue to claim the risks are being talked-up.

On the island of Ireland, despite the apparent refusal of some in Westminster to see it, there is a fear that the peace process is being taken for granted.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May met European Union leaders in Brussels on Wednesday, before they held their own private discussions on Brexit.

In a moment that captured attention at the talks, her Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar showed other EU representatives a copy of The Irish Times.

The newspaper’s frontpage carried a warning from history.

Journalist Simon Carswell had met the family of a county Monaghan lorry driver killed in an IRA attack on a border customs post in 1972, long before the peace process had softened the line on the map.

The bereaved relatives spoke of their fears that if Brexit was mishandled, if a hard border returned on the island of Ireland, then violence might follow.

Leo Varadkar gave EU leaders an insight into what many in Ireland already understand: Irish history is peppered with periods of conflict. Peace cannot be taken for granted. The Brexit negotiations are about much more than economics and trade.

SCI recently wrote of the growing concerns that Brexit is also eroding the human rights and equality protections that underpin the peace process. A major piece by RTÉ Europe Editor Tony Connelly examined the issues.

It will probably be December before we find out if the UK and EU can broker a deal.

Can politics find the words to ease the fear at the back of many people’s minds?

A new book of poetry by John Kelly, a writer and broadcaster raised in the Irish border county of Fermanagh, appears to have little to do with Brexit.

His book, Notions, is about family, memory and nature. It is about the universal, the personal, and the sense of place.

But the book also carries echoes of the violence, fear and paranoia of the Troubles. It captures memories of unnerving times, when people felt the need to look over their shoulders:


He was tailed for hours that night.

This was Arizona –

beyond Flagstaff,

in the middle of nowhere.


It happened him in Belfast too,

and on a pitch-black road

in South Tyrone,

where one crowd let on to be the other.


He thought about his father and his mother.

He tried again to pray,

to make the headlights sweep

and turn away.