LibLink: Catherine Bearder: Brexit threatens the very fabric of the Good Friday Agreement

The Good Friday agreement works to keep the peace in Ireland and Brexit threatens it, says Catherine Bearder in an article for the New European. She illustrates the difference it has made to one community:

In the early days of the Troubles, the British Army opened a barracks in Forkhill to accommodate around 600 soldiers right next to a housing estate. Helicopters regularly took off and landed over the roofs of these homes, some even damaging them. The army controlled the television signals as well as the street lighting. It was one of the most dangerous places for British soldiers.

No one wants a return to those days.

The residents of Forkhill had been looking towards the future, not the past. On the site of the old barracks they are building a community garden and a wider project called the Peace Forest Ireland Initiative which aims to plant 4,000 trees on both sides of the border in memory of those who died during the Troubles. This is an ex-military site being redeveloped as a clear signal that the local community is moving forward, putting the past behind it.

Brexit puts all that at risk, she argues, so those who have to live with the consequences should get the chance to say if they agree with the Brexit deal:

Worth remembering too is that the GFA was put to the people to judge. The final deal was looked at, discussed, debated and voted on by the people of Ireland, including those in the Republic of Ireland. They were given the choice to accept or reject it. The people had to be on board to make it a success.

You can read the whole article here. 

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2 Comments

  • We must face the problem that there is an influential party in Northern Ireland that is strongly in favour of leaving the EU. So influential that the U.K. government depends on their support. There is also a strongly pro EU party which does not take its seats at Westminster.
    How do we deal with this reality?
    By the way I do not think that the government of the Republic has been in any way a cause of the problems in the North.

  • Having lost a good friend in the “Troubles”, I have taken more than a passing interest in the lead up to and then implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
    The improvement in any area be it economic, social, security, etc, for the people of Northern Ireland is nothing short of a miracle.
    To see all this potentially sacrificed on the altar of a hard Brexit is painful. Are we to go through another cycle of increasing tensions and far, far worse, just to satisfy a course of action driven by narrow political spite?

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