28 Jul 2017

The Irish Government Insists on a Post-Brexit Irish Sea’s Border

Theresa May’s Brexit hangover continues after her proposal to the EU leaders received yet another strike. According to the Times, the Irish government described her suggestion for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as “unworkable”, “doomed and would jeopardise the peace process”. The magazine also announced that the Irish prime minister Leo Varakadar has a contra-proposal, which includes leaving the 310-mile border between the south and the north open, while moving customs and immigration check-points away, towards the ports and airports and drawing a border in the Irish Sea.

The British government’s idea for putting surveillance cameras and other technology so the police can monitor the traffic between the two sides wasn’t welcomed from the Irish government. According to Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, “Any barrier or border on the island of Ireland risks undermining a very hard-won peace process and all of the parties in Northern Ireland, whether they are unionist or nationalist, recognise we want to keep the free movement of people and goods and services and livelihoods.”

His words, however, didn’t find the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), currently helping Theresa May to keep her majority in the Parliament. Ian Paisley Jr, an MP from DUP, said on BBC Radio 4: “There is no way that the DUP would go for an option that creates a border between one part of the United Kingdom and the other. Dublin really needs to understand that that proposition is absurd and unconstitutional.” Later, he also tweeted an additional comment on his account: “1 of 2 things will now happen 1. A very hard border 2. Ireland will wise up and leave the EU.”

The leaders’ different opinions in both parts of the Emerald Isle clearly show that the Brexit process will be even harder than expected and the outcomes, unpredictable.