Sign Sheila’s petition on Northern Ireland and Brexit

The UK Government must not risk a return to ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. That’s what’s inspired Sheila Ritchie, our Lib Dem MEP for Scotland to launch a UK Parliamentary petition calling on the Government not to impose any additional border restrictions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Ms Ritchie’s petition comes as the Good Friday Agreement approaches the 20th anniversary of it taking effect and is sponsored by fellow Liberal Democrat MEPs.

Sheila Ritchie said:

For almost 20 years now, the Good Friday Agreement has kept the peace between communities. 

Freedom to move across the Irish border without restrictions has been a key contributor to this peace and should not be up for negotiation simply for Boris Johnson’s political convenience.

The UK Government must not threaten this agreement, or risk a return to ‘the Troubles’, by imposing any additional border restrictions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The petition says:

Do not impose any border restrictions between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

2nd December 2019 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement coming into effect. Parliament must not threaten this agreement, or risk a return to ‘the Troubles’, by imposing any additional border restrictions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

You can sign it here. 

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4 Comments

  • Andrew McCaig 18th Oct '19 - 1:36pm

    The problem as I see it is that this new deal breaks the Good Friday Agreement and the power – sharing principle in the other direction, by creating a customs border in the Irish Sea.
    In the past the border with the Republic has been the problem, with terrorist-organised smuggling, attacks on border posts etc. There is certainly the possibility that the Irish Sea border could be

  • Andrew McCaig 18th Oct '19 - 1:41pm

    Could become equally contentious.
    Polls show how divided the communities are on this agreement. Decisions in Stormont are supposed to be taken by both communities, not by simple majority vote. This deal really does chuck the Unionists under the bus, and that is very risky.
    The only safe result for Northern Ireland is to stay in an all UK customs union with the EU. That is why May’s deal was a lot better than this one, and Remain the best option of all

  • David Allen 18th Oct '19 - 6:50pm

    The Johnson “Deal” spells trouble for Northern Ireland. Let me try to unpick just how much trouble.

    As Andrew McCaig says, the “Deal” puts a barrier between Northen Ireland and the UK, while keeping the border with the Irish Republic open and frictionless. In the polarised society of Northern Ireland, that’s a win for the Catholics and a defeat for the Protestants. The DUP Protestants won’t like that, and if any English person grumbles that it’s a purely symbolic “defeat” and hence immaterial, then they don’t understand feelings in Northern Ireland.

    So the DUP will perforce be thinking whether they can use the provision in the “Deal” which allows the border in the Irish Sea to be scrapped by majority vote at Stormont. Yes, they will know that this will cause trouble, but they will also know that if they don’t take that stance, someone more extreme will come along, take that stance, and take votes from the DUP.

    So the first thing they need is to get Stormont back in operation. Problem, Sinn Fein are asking for concessions over Irish language rights before they agree to that. Now, Johnson’s “Deal” has suddenly given Sinn Fein a lot more power. They can demand more concessions, knowing DUP really need Stormont back. Then if it gets to 2024 and the DUP look ready to get the Irish Sea border scrapped, Sinn Fein can collapse Stormont again.

    So all this is permanently going to ratchet up tensions betwen the two sides in Northern Ireland. Is that a smart idea Boris?

    NB, Sinn Fein would argue that I’m overstating the risks because DUP do not have a majority at Stormont to scrap the Irish Sea border. I think they could be wrong. The customs muddle will be a mess, a smugglers’ charter. Once that becomes clear, a whole lot of non-sectarian moderates in NI will find themselves agreeing with the DUP that change is needed.

    Johnson is rushing his “Deal” through parliament in an attempt to “get it done” before all the snags come to light. Well, here is one massive set of snags. Let’s hope the Opposition MPs find and advertise these snags tomorrow!

  • Peter Hirst 20th Oct '19 - 5:38pm

    The irish dimension to Brexit risks playing with fire to honour the referendum result. It is impossible to honour both agreements at the same time. So it’s impossible to leave the eu and allow the people of Ireland to sort out their constitutional arrangements when they’re ready to do so that is what self determination dictates.

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