After nearly twenty years of peace it’s easy to take progress in Northern Ireland for granted. Questions about the incompatibility of Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement are dismissed as the latest obsession of the unreconciled Remainer. But fears about what Brexit means for Northern Ireland are genuine and need answers.
Those wanting greater control and enforcement of rules on immigration after Brexit imagine the reinstatement of a hard border on the island of Ireland will help. It won’t. The common travel area has allowed citizens of both countries to move freely, give or take the occasional interruption, since 1925. We need to remember that the border was dismantled not in response to an EU treaty, but in order to achieve peace. The watchtowers, checkpoints and guns were removed because that is what was agreed in the Good Friday agreement, not because both countries are EU members. Having said that, there is no doubt that aspects of EU membership helped remove some of the obstacles to the softening of the Irish border.
Read more from Jenny Chapman for The Times here: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/we-must-not-return-to-a-hard-border-in-ireland-25bnwhcvv