Special collaboration for The Southern Cross From Spain, Patricio Dellatorre Balestra

The celebration of Saint Patrick has become such an important international event that it has managed to establish two records that are very difficult to achieve. On one hand, it has become the most international party after Christmas. On the other hand, it is the only thing that the coronavirus has managed to stop only partially, as we can be see in the following images.

On March 17, the Colosseum in Rome, the Niagara Falls, the Christ in Rio de Janeiro, the Empire State of New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Madrid fountain of Cibeles and the Puerta de Alcalá, the Chicago rivers, the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris, they turn green, and the list does not end there.

On March 17, 13,000,000 pints of beer (one pint: half a liter) are consumed in Ireland.

The most emblematic element of the Irish holiday is the color green, but not everyone knows that in 1783, when the Order of Saint Patrick was founded, the color blue was chosen as its distinctive.

The party became international as result of the migration of Irish people to the USA, and the first celebration was in Florida in 1601. The feast of St. Patrick became more important than in Ireland itself. The world’s largest parade is in New York. More than two million people attend every year. The largest Irish community in the world resides in the United States and within EE.UU. the most important settlement is in Boston.

In Argentina is the fifth Irish community (by numerical importance). Around
two million argentines are of Irish origin. There are even Argentine heroes of
Irish origin, such as Admiral Guillermo Brown.

In Argentina something surprising happens. Hardly anyone knows that Ireland has been the only European country that openly supported Argentina in the Falklands war.

The coronavirus has unsuccessfully attempted completely eclipse the festivities of March 17. In addition, the coronavirus has also meddled in Irish life, and has done so beyond the feast of St. Patrick.

Unexpectedly, the virus has involved a kind of early practice of what the consequences of Brexit will be that will only go into effect on December 30. Irish ports such as Castletownbere and Dingle were closed due to the coronavirus, so then there was an interruption of the commerce with the European Union, and that is what will happen with Brexit.

Fishing vessels in the UK catch more than 600.000 tonnes of fish each year, of which 65% are consumed in the European Union.

COVID-19 has also interfered on the very important question of the border between the two Irelands. This issue is the most complicated and difficult to solve before launching Brexit. The deadline of December 30 is insufficient, argues Ursula von der Leyen (the highest authority in the EU), however, the stubborn Johnson has imposed it capriciously, but COVID-19, paralyzing the negotiations, has further shortened the deadlines in this delicate issue. Therefore, the deadline of December 30 must be extend, even if the British Prime Minister does not like it.

An ironic and paradoxical aspect is that what is acting as a containment barrier to the damage that Brexit could cause in Ireland is violence. (from the past). No one, absolutely no one wants to shake that hornet’s nest. But it happens that leaving the EU implies establishing a border between the two Irish, whose absence was nothing more and nothing less than what allowed the end of this long period of violence by the IRA.

Therefore, the most possible solution is the most absurd. Northern Ireland argues that they opposed Brexit and so are now unwilling to bear its consequences (the border, among other things). The solution has been not to impose that border and that Northern Ireland remains under the rules of the EU (free transit of goods) BUT legally belonging to the United Kingdom. In other words, the United Kingdom leaves the EU, but a part of it does not. The only planned border is the maritime border between Ireland and the United Kingdom. This point was reached because there was no alternative.

This unnatural scheme, also paradoxically, may become the key to the reunification of the two Irelands in the not too distant future. As Northern Ireland has firmly planted itself in its thesis: “we did not want Brexit”, so it seems that the only possible negotiation is to allow them to accept “the absurd solution” and let them decide four years later, whether they wish to continue, under this scheme or submit to the rules of the United Kingdom. From here to reunification, there is only one step. Furthermore, this approach has prompted Scots to begin evaluating the possibility of independence.

The departure from the United Kingdom signed on January 30 last, despite being symbolic in the present, has implied that the only two border territories, within the countries belonging to the EU, are Ireland and Gibraltar.

At present for Ireland and the rest of the world, the most important problem to solve is the coronavirus. Today, the best measure against a pandemic is the same as it was several centuries ago: isolation.

When the bubonic plague (the black plague) spread throughout Europe, 60% of all the inhabitants of the old continent died, but in Buenos Aires and Sydney no one died. The virus had no chance of traveling to those places. Europe was naturally completely isolated.

When the bubonic plague (the black plague) spread throughout Europe, 60% of all the inhabitants of the old continent died, but in Buenos Aires and Sydney no one died. The virus had no chance of traveling to those places. Europe was naturally completely isolated.

In addition to confinement, the best that is available today to fight this virus is modernity (genome sequencing, mechanical ventilators, modern medicine, hospitals, etc.). Ironically, today, the worst that exists to defend ourselves against COVID-19, is modernity too. Today’s means of transport, for example, allow a company executive to be in Buenos Aires today, in Sydney tomorrow, and then take a plane and go to Tokyo to sign some documents, and that same night end up sleeping in Beijing. The unstoppable growth of tourism is going in the same direction. 1,600,000,000 people move around the world every year. This and any other virus can now travel quickly and easily to all corners of the planet.

At present, regarding Ireland’s future and the final outcome of the coronavirus, we can only we can only let time go on.