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Brexit is not the direct cause of violence in Northern Ireland

Brexit is not the direct cause of violence in Northern Ireland

April 10th is a historic day here in Belfast. 23 years ago, the so-called Good Friday Treaty was signed.

Peace reigned in Northern Ireland after nearly three decades of violence.

But last April, after 23 years, violence and riots erupted again. Police deployed water cannons and a bus caught fire, and 88 officers were injured. The pictures spread all over the world. From the White House in Washington, US President Joe Biden expressed his concern about the development. Yes, even for peace.

In London Publications The Financial Times and the Guardian also warned that Northern Ireland was drifting back into violence, with headlines such as “Back to the Old Days” on images of fires and stone throwing in the British media.

Riots in Belfast between Loyal Protestants and Republican Catholics.

Photo: Press Eye Ltd / Shutterstock

And this is evident: when children between the ages of 13 and 14 fight on Shankill Road in West Belfast as if it were in their 1970s, the outside world interacts. These are children who have not yet been born peace. They were born more than a decade after the peace treaty was signed. Now they repeat a form of violent dances between Protestants and Catholics as if it were inherited.

What is really going on?

On the streets of Belfast Many want everything to be played on Saturday. It’s a relatively normal sunny Saturday – how common is it now when everything is closed due to the ongoing pandemic. But after all, people gather outside Hillsborough Castle to hear a salute to the recently deceased Prince Philip.

It is our pleasure to reopen shops and bars on Monday. The economic consequences of incendiary bombs and stone throwing could be huge: last week’s headlines were not good for Northern Ireland’s investment climate. The epidemic has hit the economy hard as it is.

The Loyalists do not want a border at sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain, which is what the Brexit agreement practically leads to.

The Loyalists do not want a border at sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain, which is what the Brexit agreement practically leads to.

Photo: Press Eye Ltd / Shutterstock

To try to understand What happens to you? You start by going to the port of Belfast. This is where many commodities must now be controlled due to Brexit. Practically what happened thanks to Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement is that there is now a border at sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. For loyal Protestants whose identity is based on Northern Ireland being part of Britain, this is difficult to grasp.

Practically what happened thanks to Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement is that there is now a border at sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. For loyal Protestants whose identity is based on Northern Ireland being part of Britain, this is difficult to grasp.

In February, the Port of Belfast sent customs officials home after what appeared to be threatening phrases indicating them as “targets”. There was a fear that violent loyalist groups considered customs officials traitors. These are limits that many people think should not exist at all in the sea. Work at the port soon resumed. And is it really because mozzarella is now subject to certain agricultural controls, with 14-year-olds throwing stones in the evening?

I ask Matthew O’Toole Who has worked on Brexit issues with both the Prime Minister and Finance Minister in London. This year he packed up and moved to his home in Belfast. This had a lot to do with the frustration with the way the London government dealt with Northern Ireland. He is simply worried about what Brexit will do to stabilize his region.

In London, they took a lot of positions without thinking about what it would mean for Northern Ireland, he says.

But even Matthew O’Toole did not change his mind and became a politician due to his concern about what Brexit might mean, not even believing that last week’s violence was a direct cause of Brexit.

On the other hand, Brexit is of course part of the context in which all this is happening.

Matthew O’Toole is represented Social Democratic Labor Party in Northern Ireland. It is a party in the long run that Northern Ireland becomes part of Ireland. Someone who stood a little bit on the Loyal and Protestant ledge might say that O’Toole doesn’t care enough about having to check cargo here in the port. He still didn’t think that Northern Ireland’s future as part of the United Kingdom was so important.

Posters in Belfast call for calm and the suspension of protests over Prince Phillips' death on Friday.

Posters in Belfast call for calm and the suspension of protests over Prince Phillips’ death on Friday.

Photo: Paul Feith / AFP

Violence has erupted in recent weeks in loyalist circles in the traditional Protestant working-class districts of Belfast. These are frustrating groups of what Brexit means. But on And police announced on Saturday morning that the paramilitary groups did not appear to be behind the violence.

The riots began last week with protests against prominent members of the Sinn Fein, the former political branch of the Irish Republican Army, who had not been prosecuted for violating restrictions imposed on the outbreak while attending a funeral. Many loyal Protestants believe that Sinn Fein appears to at least be above the law.

But the violence last week It also has to do with the epidemic. Those fighting on the streets are mostly young men who either couldn’t go to school or were physically able to participate in youth groups for several months.

The police also refer to traditional gang dynamics. Today, many of the groups that carried out political violence in Northern Ireland have turned to controlling the drug trade. There is speculation that some gang leaders are simply angry because they found it more difficult to obtain drugs from Scotland due to the new Brexit controls.

Of course it is worth mentioning Scotland there on the other side of the sea.

It is another effect of Brexit affecting the dynamics of Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, Brexit has led to A renewed discussion of Scottish independence. If Scotland leaves Britain, what does this mean for Northern Ireland?

The construction known as the UK is a fragile thing. There was always a risk that Britain would simply leave the European Union but at the expense of the country ceasing to exist in its current form. Only England and Wales have voted for Brexit.

Northern Ireland and Scotland have not.

Peace agreement that was written Here in Belfast 23 years ago, it was always tacitly based on the fact that both the UK and Ireland were members of the European Union. This is what made boundaries so flexible – people can construct their individual identities relatively freely.

Now it’s getting more difficult.

They are Europeans in Dublin – and they are no longer in Belfast.

In the past, you could send goods freely from Scotland – you could no longer do that.

Britain’s exit from the European Union is not a direct cause of the violence that took place last week.

But Brexit is part of the backdrop against which this is happening.

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