Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Brexit and the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which is regarded as the end to The Troubles, the largely, though by no means entirely, sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. The issue of the Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland divide seemed to become all-but-moot when Poblacht na h√Čireann and the United Kingdom joined the European Union and the border between the two nations basically melted away.

With the 'success' of the Brexit vote, the issue of border control has risen like a zombie (RIP Dolores) to trouble policymakers and inhabitants of both sides of the border. Discussions concerning the border have involved invoking the specter of paramilitary activity as well as the issue of tariffs and trade. At any rate, 55% of the residents of Northern Ireland voted against the Brexit, and thousands of northerners who commute to the Republic of Ireland would be adversely affected if passport controls were instituted. Long-term, the pro-Republic Sinn Fein party considers the border issue to be a possible factor in Irish reunification, which would be triggered if a majority of voters on both sides of the border vote in favor of it. It's a long shot, but it could be that the old song becomes a prophecy:

The twenty years of peace bodes well for a peaceful solution to the border issue, even though workers could be boned if the border is 'hardened'. I doubt that the bad old days described by my favorite Welsh songsters, who condemned both sides of the violent conflict, will come back to plague the border:

Of course, there are always the dead-enders who might cause problems, but they thankfully seem to be kicking the bucket due to old age.

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