Jan 4 close

The year’s closing time

And so another year takes its final few steps into the history books. Most will be sad to see it go, imperfect though it might have been.

Time was when the Christmas and New Year holiday period brought with it an air of somnolence, a break in the normal habits of life, a bit of a slowdown, a break.

Not so much the case these days.

We’re in the 24-hour cycle of life now, be it news, social media, or just plain getting through the day’s tasks.

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Lately, given all the political uncertainty on this side of the Atlantic, and the chaos surrounding Brexit on the other side, those daily tasks are looking more and more like therapeutic distraction.

With regard to Brexit, the first few months of 2019 will be like a water slide into a very murky pool.

The Brexit mess is a spectacular example of a rudderless government leading a bewildered electorate into a potentially bottomless pit of economic misery.

Ireland, of course, risks being dragged down by the Brexit insanity, pushed along as it is by British politicians of the “fog in the channel continent cut off” variety.

Never mind the channel, it’s the Irish Sea where things are right now the foggiest.

And on both sides of it politicians and pundits are attempting to predict and steer things along when in fact they haven’t the well, foggiest idea, what Brexit will bring with it after the deadline date of March 29.

One thing for sure, and assuming Brexit actually goes ahead, Ireland isn’t going to be the same place on March 30.

This from the Irish Independent’s Kevin Doyle: “A hard border now looks inevitable as soon as Britain moves to strike trade deals with countries outside the EU.

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted once the UK government changes its customs rules and regulations, this island will ‘get into real difficulties.’

“The Irish Government continues to insist it has not carried out any planning for physical infrastructure at the Border. But there are mounting fears that while some initial leeway may be offered in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the EU and World Trade Organisation would ultimately demand checks on animals and food moving between the North and the Republic.

Nobody in the Government has been able to explain how checks could take place without a physical border.”

Leo Varadkar’s reference to “real difficulties” is not an exaggeration. The potential for economic disruption on the island of Ireland is every bit as much a reality as the absolute certainty of economic disruption in the United Kingdom, including the parts of it that voted against Brexit, namely the North and Scotland.

One thing is for certain. Irish America will have to saddle up and head for the front lines to make sure that the hard won peace and relative normality enjoyed by those living in the North will not be dragged into the Brexit mire by politicians in London who would have a hard time finding the place on the map.

And, most alarmingly, there are quite a few of them.

So 2019 promises to be, well, interesting.

We should enjoy the final few days of 2018 then because what’s ahead could make what’s in the rear view mirror seem relatively tranquil.

Regardless, a Happy and Peaceful New Year to all our readers and advertisers. We will be making the journey together. Strap yourselves in!