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In Northern Ireland, fears of a no-deal Brexit

A Brexit debate sign is seen between Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and Londonderry in Northern Ireland at the border village of Muff, Ireland. (Photo by Reuters)

Ahmed Kaballo
Press TV, Donegal

The prospect of a no-deal Brexit has been the source of intense speculation since British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to leave the European Union with or without a deal by the October 31. Yet, on the island of Ireland, there is one topic that has taken precedence over everything else: What impact will it have on peace and security in what they call Northern Ireland?

Boris Johnson has repeatedly ruled out the so-called Irish backstop, which is essentially a transitional safety net that would prevent the reintroduction of a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

The EU insists on their proposed Irish backstop as the only way of maintaining peace and security in Northern Ireland, and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned there will have to be controls at the border in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

For some, that threat of violence has felt increasingly more present since the tragic murder of Irish journalist Lyra McKee, who was fatally shot on April 18, 2019, during rioting and clashes between the police forces and republicanist dissidents in the Creggan area of Derry. The shooting was believed to have been carried out by a member of the dissident republicanist group the New IRA.

Since then, they have been targeted police searches against dissident republicanists in Derry, and the police have been attacked with petrol bombs, and there was an even a mortar bomb recovered near a police station in Strabane, County Tyrone.

The Irish border issue has been a major stumbling block in the recent Brexit negotiations between the UK government and the European Union, with the British prime minister insisting the backstop contingency plan should be scrapped.

Yet, here on the Island of Ireland, many people have expressed concern that a no-deal Brexit would pose a serious risk to the Good Friday peace agreement that so many parties to the armed conflict struggled to achieve.

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