Monday 5 December 2016

We can't go back to the days of a hard border

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

The peace process rendered the border virtually meaningless. Any altering of the status quo is fraught with political, social and economic risk
The peace process rendered the border virtually meaningless. Any altering of the status quo is fraught with political, social and economic risk

The Good Friday Agreement brought peace and allowed a degree of normality to be restored in the North that previous generations had been cheated of. It forged new levels of friendship between Britain and Ireland, and the new relationships brought mutual benefits unimaginable in the recent past.

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A manifestation of this was the virtual disappearance of the Border and the free coming and going that it afforded. That is why it was somewhat disquieting to hear the new British Prime Minister categorically stating yesterday that: "If you look ahead, what is going to happen when the UK leaves the European Union is that of course Northern Ireland will have a border with the Republic of Ireland, which will remain a member of the European Union."

The peace process rendered the Border virtually meaningless. Any altering of the status quo is fraught with political, social and economic risk. Ms May said that she did not want to see a return to the borders of the past, but any deviation from the fluid and open arrangement we have now would be regarded as retrograde.

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