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Britain's exit from the European Union raises concerns in Northern Ireland

Britain’s exit from the European Union raises concerns in Northern Ireland

A lot of unionists are very worried now. They feel that Northern Ireland is isolated from Britain. Britain and the EU must realize how fragile and unstable the situation is. London and Brussels have joint responsibility for Northern Ireland’s future, says Katie Hayward, a professor at Queen’s University Belfast.

What is known as The Troubles, the long conflict that killed 3,700 people, remains an open wound in Northern Ireland. Although more than twenty years have passed since the peace agreement, the peace process is very fragile. The lines between Protestant unionists who want to belong to Britain and Catholic nationalists who want to belong to Ireland still remain.

‘Northern Ireland was blown up by Britain’

– There should be no limit! Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. Why should we pay tax on goods from another part of the UK? Boris betrayed Northern Ireland. Unionist Stuart Finley says Northern Ireland is, as usual, under attack by Britain.

The largest unitary party, the Democratic Unionist Party, wants to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol altogether and threatens to bring down cooperation in the Northern Ireland Stormont coalition government. Hard-line unionists, so-called loyalists, have told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that they support the peace agreement. They recently suspended all cooperation with Northern Ireland Police. In addition, the border guards and local politicians were threatened.

Postponing border controls in the future

The dispute between the European Union and the United Kingdom over the Northern Ireland Protocol led to the British unilaterally extending a transition period delaying the tightening of border controls in the future. The European Union claims it is in violation of the Brexit agreement, thus filing a lawsuit against the United Kingdom. Analysts warn that Northern Ireland is caught up in the row between London and Brussels.

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I am concerned that as long as the European Union and the United Kingdom neither cooperate nor compromise the Northern Ireland Protocol, the contradictions and tensions in Northern Ireland will deepen. Katie Hayward, a professor at Queen’s University Belfast, said armed groups can still harm the peace process.