Opinion: Security issues as much of a priority as economics in Brexit negotiation
We rarely get good news about Brexit. It's not a happy theme - but it's one we have to continually face because of its huge ramifications for Irish farming, agribusiness and the economy generally.
Every other day we learn of a new complication - one that was not previously foreseen, but once cited, its implications become instantly clear. In a sense the focus on the economic fallout is entirely understandable - but it is also vital that other aspects are not neglected.
Every EU member state has its economic woes and there is only so much sympathy available in a busy, competitive world. However, peace and security are more elemental and can command more EU attention.
The Irish Government has led on the issue of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the need to keep underpinning a fragile peace in Northern Ireland with prosperity and trade. But the spectre of a "hard Brexit," with the UK leaving both the single market and customs union, inevitably risks creating a "hard Border".
We have had warnings from the Northern side that this risks encouraging so-called "dissident republicans" (an appalling misnomer in itself) to return to violence with attacks on customs installations. Leading figures in the PSNI have raised the issue.
There is ample historical precedent. The IRA border campaign of the 1950s majored in customs and police station attacks. British Prime Minister, Theresa May, last Friday reiterated her determination that there would be "no physical infrastructure on the Irish border".
That assertion implies there will be an electronic border, with the prospect of customs declarations, causing expense and needless work. Secondly, there will have to be customs installations of some kind, and they will need to be defended from residual self-styled patriots.
Two gardaí have raised the issue as viewed from An Garda Síochána's standpoint.