Porfirio Diaz, the dictator of Mexico in the final decades of the 19th century and the first of the 20th, once lamented his country’s geographical misfortune thus: “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States.”

The combination of Brexit and the latest mismanagement of the COVID-19 response must make Irish leaders wish their Celtic forbearers had invaded some other corner of Europe. Next door to Boris Johnson’s Britain has not been the luckiest location these last few years.