So what does ‘Paddy’ think of Brexit – here are some thoughts by Dermot Hayes, the well-known disability activist and a member of Clare County Council’s Social Development SPC where he represents the social inclusion sector.

The sun went down on the British Empire many decades ago. Then on the  23rd of June 2016, the subjects of the UK voted to withdraw from the democratic European structure. This will have a major impact on the citizens of Ireland. Having spent the last few months asking my neighbours, friends, business people, farmers, family abroad and local politicians what they think of Brexit, and having listened to local and national media outlets, it seems to me there.
In my view, this will have a major impact on the citizens of Ireland. Having spent the last few months asking my neighbours, friends, business people, farmers, family abroad and local politicians what they think of Brexit, and having listened to local and national media outlets, it seems to me there is utter confusion, and a doomsday scenario being spun out to us all.
Like many Irish people, I have sisters, aunts, uncles and dozens of cousins living in Britain with the majority bemoaning the negative vote that took place. Now ‘Paddy’ needs to know if we will have a hard border, soft border or no border and what does it all mean?
The Irish nation has had a long relationship with Britain and this has been reciprocated by the UK. We cannot ignore the fact that in 2015 Ireland exported €13.5 billion worth of goods to the UK. Irish beef export represents 50% of this. These are staggering figures.
As our nearest neighbour we have built up a long enduring relationship with the UK but the cost of the critical changes that are imminent in the next five years may damage that relationship.
It seems to me that the Commissioners in the EU are playing hardball, while the UK government has its head in the sand.
Meanwhile there is a massive fear that the Irish economy will suffer drastically in the short term.  The UK simply cannot continue to enjoy the benefits of being in the EU while bearing none of the responsibilities of membership.
For its part, the Irish government needs to build  stronger relationships with other EU countries so that our citizens will have a more stable future.