How Brexit could create a crisis at the Irish border

How Brexit could create a crisis at the Irish border


As part of the European Union, the United
Kingdom’s borders have been relatively open for years. Trade’s carried out freely with other member
countries and people coming through only need to show their EU passport. But in June 2016, the UK voted to leave the
EU so that it could reassert control on its own borders – and decide who and what it wanted
to let through. Imagine these boundaries turning into hard
borders. The impact of that on these maritime borders
is complicated in terms of trade, but it could have serious implications for
the people living along the UK’s only overland border — here. This border, between Northern Ireland and
the Republic of Ireland, is one of the reasons why Brexit negotiations continue to reach
a deadlock. That’s because this isn’t just a boundary
between two countries… It’s also a compromise. A symbol of identity. A solution to a troubled history. And it’s been keeping the peace in Northern
Ireland for 20 years. Hardening this border could put one of Europe’s
greatest success stories in jeopardy. This border was first drawn in 1920 by the British, who had ruled over the island for
centuries. The Irish had rebelled several times, but not everyone wanted the British to leave. So, eventually the UK divided the island into
two states based on its population. Most people in this part were historically
Catholic, and identified as Irish, and wanted independence. They were known as Nationalists. But in the North, many people were
Protestant, identified more closely as British and wanted to stay in the UK. They were called Unionists. After the partition, this part remained in
the UK as Northern Ireland. We made that decision as a people quite freely, and for very definite reasons. Reasons that are historical, reasons that are cultural, and reasons that are economic. The south continued to move away from
the UK until it gained complete independence and became a new country — the Republic of
Ireland. At first, this 499 kilometer border was pretty
porous. But the UK and Ireland continued to be hostile. Over time, customs checks were set up at the border
crossings and the two countries descended into a trade war – tariffs were placed on agricultural
produce and goods like steel and coal. By the late 1960s, things turned violent. Violence like this hit Northern Ireland after years of simmering bitterness between the Catholic minority and the ruling Protestant regime. In Northern Ireland, fierce conflict broke
out between extremist groups. Nationalist paramilitaries, like the Irish
Republican Army, believed that Northern Ireland was rightfully part of Ireland and that the
British were oppressors of Northern Ireland’s Nationalist population. Unionist paramilitaries fought back; defending
their place in the UK. Both groups blew up buildings, set off car
bombs, and engaged in bloody street fighting. The UK deployed thousands of troops to Northern
Ireland during this time; and became a common target of Nationalist paramilitary attacks. Especially at the border, which for Nationalists
was the ultimate symbol of British occupation. “Welsh fuseliers who patrol this stretch of the border described in court as the main battle line between the IRA and the army, have suffered repeated attacks.” As violence surged, the UK military tried
to secure the border with walls, towers, heavy guns, and patrols. They tightly controlled the 20 official crossings and screened people and vehicles passing through. The conflict over Northern Ireland turned
this into a hard border. The violence lasted for more than 30 years,
killed over 3,600 people and came to be known as The Troubles. It came to end in 1998, when Nationalist
and Unionist Party leaders came together for a historic peace deal. They reached a compromise: Northern Ireland
would remain in the UK but people would be eligible for both Irish and UK citizenships. And in the future, Northern Ireland could
vote to join Ireland. This deal came to be known as the Good Friday
Agreement. It allowed Nationalists in Northern Ireland
to be part of the Republic of Ireland while the Unionists remained part of the UK. Which meant this hard border wasn’t needed
anymore. So, the British military left. The watchtowers came down. And more roads opened. There are now around 270 official crossings
– most of which are completely invisible. And they’re all part of a border that stands
as a symbol of the compromise that ended decades of conflict. “The British people have voted to leave the European Union.” “Reignited a fierce debate over Northern Ireland’s future.” “Because both are members of the European Union. But when Britain pulls out of the EU,” “it’s now an outer-EU border and the question is, do we put up barbed wire again? Soldiers? There’ll be a custom borders at the very least.” In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU, even
though Northern Ireland was overwhelmingly in favor of remaining. The UK’s argument in favor of Brexit was
to control its own national borders — but there was little mention of its Irish border
at the time. That changed when the UK and EU started negotiations
— the status of the Irish border became one of the first three things to figure out. Now, more than a year later, it’s still
unresolved. But there are a few options:
The UK could reimpose a hard border by bringing back the police and the walls. But that would isolate the population of Nationalists
in Northern Ireland. Alternatively, they could put the border here,
leaving Northern Ireland in the EU Customs Union, but separating it from the UK mainland. But this would betray the Unionists. See, either way, both these options risk
violating the Good Friday Agreement. A third option is for the UK to stay in the
EU Customs Union meaning it wouldn’t need a customs border, but that’s unacceptable
for Brexiters in the UK government, who specifically want control over their own borders. The UK needs to put a border somewhere but
just can’t decide where. “On relation to the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, we will not return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland”. “But the suggestion that there should be a border down the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom is completely unacceptable.” “We are not going to
be in a customs union, we’re not going to be in the Customs Union, because if we were, that would prevent us from being able to follow an independent trade policy.” Now, there’s a fourth option that would be in
line with the Good Friday Agreement — it’s the idea of reunification. In the past when both Ireland and the UK were
in the EU and the borders were open; there was little incentive for Northern Ireland
to vote to reunite with the Republic of Ireland. But if the UK went with the option of hard
borders, Northern Ireland would be isolated and the only way to rejoin the EU would be
through reunification. Typically, this would be an overwhelming victory
for the Nationalists and a loss for the Unionists. But Brexit seems to have changed some opinions. A recent poll found that 28% of the respondents
who supported Northern Ireland’s place in the UK would now vote to join the Republic
of Ireland. While not a perfect solution, it would give
Northern Ireland a voice about its own place in Europe; a voice that’s barely been heard
so far.

100 comments

  1. Northern Ireland must be part of the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland does not belong to the UK, they are not Brits so why should they pay the price for Brexit

  2. It’s time for the British to leave and for Northern Ireland to reunite with the Republic.

    Solidarity for America, my brothers. There’s nothing more American that kicking the British out!

  3. we should just invade Ireland !!! border problems solved

    no deal brexit now and tell the eu to shove their 39billon bill where the sun don't shine !!!

    and send home all eu nationals working in the UK and give the jobs back to who they rightfully belong to, namely the British people

  4. Britain needs to give Northern Ireland back to Ireland it belongs to Ireland the republic like and if the Protestants don’t like it send them back to we’re they belong.

  5. I don't know what the best solution is, but as someone who lives in the Republic all I can say is that no matter what happens it's gonna be messy!

  6. How come that when you cover this you just say protestant and catholic once but in the videos about the middle east you just say sunni and shia as much as possible

  7. Personally I think that the only way for there to be no violence ever again in the north, is for the whole island to reunite next a while republic

  8. Spilt N. Ireland in 1/2 because (4:51) at the west side, which is the catholic side, those people want ?? membership, while at the east, which is the protestant side, those people want separation from the ??

  9. can someone please summarise the whole above video? I am very much keen to know the actual context and few important points!

  10. A reunification may in time lead to dissension within Ireland as the former Unionists would want some sort of representation in the goverment and obviously there wouldn't be much support for that, given that they'd at anytime or could, give some sort of ingress to the busybodies at Whitehall. That might just, given the history of the so called Troubles , might at some point morph into an armed conflict, not to mention that Ireland's economy is hugely dependent on the US and the UK might not look kindly upon Ireland as a competitor, impelling the US to cut down on investment.

  11. Brexit will result in two things.
    1) A united Ireland
    2) Civil war

    Any fellow Irishmen will cry at both for different reason. One for happiness, two for sadness.

  12. Look what they did to India but Britishers lives in a illusion that they saved ,developed India but if study history u will know how they ruined India from Golden age of India to dust( I'm sure they don't teach this in their history classes).

  13. Dear Irish people,
    You still haven't kicked out British from your lands? Well, even if you do, somehow those colonial buggers will find a way to plant seeds of hatred amongst you. Forget unification. They will find a way to divide you and for many decades to come, you will get manipulated by their politicians. They ravaged us for two hundred years, divided us by religion, manipulated us for the last 70 years and yet, we are still buying their guns to 'defend' us from each other.
    Love and peace.
    — People of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

  14. I have still yet to be told why a hard border is required on the island of Ireland.

    All goods entering Ireland have been checked and pass EU regulations.
    The same goes for all goods entering Northern Ireland.
    All goods made in Ireland pass EU regulations as do those made in the UK.

    If you are worried about goods not meeting those standards, then ask why the black market is doing a roaring trade thanks to no checks.

    For me, the Irish border problem is a no brainer and slots nicely into the scaremongering arsenal of Remainers.

  15. Unification of Ireland ?? is a favorable must. How can England a colonial nation impose a border on an island that already has a natural border the body of water that encompasses the land organically?

    England already had its own territory domain England, why do the English need to continue to occupy another people's lands?

    There will never be peace on stolen lands!

  16. Get ready for a united Ireland, its long long over due. At least the nationalists will start to be treated equally in a new Ireland Brexit best thing ever happened

  17. I would love to see a united Ireland in my life time. I dont want to see anymore violence. Good luck to the UK when they leave but please dont trample all over Ireland just to get what you want. Let us keep the pease.

  18. Southern Ireland's problem is that it's in the wrong union. It has chosen to be governed by the EU and the EU will have its border. This border will have to be manned by the EU and tariffs applied as they see fit. Of course reunification would solve the problem but the Northern Irish obstinately remain part of the United Kingdom in spite of fire and sword. You know the Brits will defend them in spite of terrorists and the backing of American Fenians. I would suggest that the Irish Republic accept the border but adopt a policy of friendliness and charm to the people of Northern Ireland. Who knows but that might just sway a future referendum in favour of a single Ireland? But, please, don't try and force the issue because you will get your collective backsides singed severely and we might have to move the border south and west. OK?

  19. Clearly Northern Ireland belongs to Ireland too ,what nonsense is this ??North Ireland is named after Ireland is on Irish island and belongs to British!?
    Give them their nation! Let them unite!
    I am not even Irish ,I am Indian ,love Ireland ❤️

  20. This video is trying to say Ireland should just conquer Northern Ireland, let the British decide Brexit, not Ireland. Its not called Irexit.

  21. My only problem with this is how they forget to mention that Northern Ireland was also one of the historically richest areas, and where most English/Scottish colonists lived, while the south remained mostly Irish.

  22. Option #5 : British government and parliament jointly announce another referendum to cancel Brexit which conclude no successful agreements and peaceful seperation (ROFLMAO)

  23. Northern Ireland is not “one of Europe’s greatest success stories” it has and always will divide our country

  24. I dont care what happens with the Irish Border . I just want peace for Northern Ireland , The Republic and the Rest of the UK and probably the world

  25. NOT……there will be never any crisis on Irish borders.
    Because the UK parliament will decide business as usual and they CAN after a no deal Brexit.
    Irish passports travel free to the UK.
    But maybe going home again they see Ursula von der Leyen on they're way…
    England has two airplanecarriers more in the sea then steaming up to Brussels, and put a significant "business card" on her desk….
    EU: "get lost we're free and in connection with ALL peoples on the globe again" period….and a free trade deal with Amerika…..
    Like mr. President Putin sayd: boycot me and Russia will be total independant of Europe at all within 5 years.
    He created businesses and products there now and when the boycot is over we can buy THERE, but not selling anymore….
    the EU is shooting in OUR feet, not in Russian feet….nor in UK feet.

  26. ????????????????????????

    We in the south need a referendum about staying in or out of Europe
    Need to happen
    ASAP
    This is not the Irish government decision
    It’s the Irish people that will decide
    NOT EUROPE
    They have bullied us in the Lisbon Treaty and more
    Let the Irish people decide

  27. A really good presentation. One that I am passing to a Hard Brexiteer relative… (That should liven up our discussions… Ha!). I Agree with the previous comment. We had no teaching about the politics of the UK at school. I read Dickens' "A child's history of England" at the age of about 35yrs (Which I highly recommend to everyone) and was horrified to discover what we had done to the Irish people over the centuries. We were no better than animals. No wonder they want us out. However, I don't believe the UK will support option 4 becasue of military security on our Western flank. With the current position I expect that we can deploy troops in Northern Ireland without permission. On reunification I suspect we can't. After reunification, should the Irish become "friendly" with Russia (or similar) and even allow them to use their ports for military use, we cannot repel the threat easily. We would be surrounded. Should that happen with the current border situation, we can amass troops in Northern Ireland and make it clear to the Irish, and any unwanted foreign governments that we can defend our western flank. Just a thought… Oh, and I told a relative in mid-2018 that in my opinion, even then, that Brexit can't happen simply as a consequence of the details presented here. It's quite simple really; mere logic. So unless the politics of the UK, Ireland and the EU change fundamentally, the risks associated with Brexit are so great that they put in danger the security of the UK, Ireland and the EU – any maybe our existence. How?… Well, how long will we last without adequate food. I give us a couple of months before the riots begin…

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