As part of the Good Friday Agreements of 1998, Ireland and the United Kingdom decided to open borders and cancel all border controls. It was an essential part of the peace agreement that ended ProblemsThe bloody battle between the Catholic paramilitary organization IRA and the British government.
Britain’s exit from the European Union has threatened to disrupt the entire peace process as hard borders return. For a long time, borders were the biggest obstacle in negotiations. Last year, Brussels and London reached an agreement after tough discussions. Northern Ireland will be granted a separate status within the United Kingdom and will continue to partially follow EU trade rules. Thus the border passes to the Irish Sea, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
But even though the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland remains open, McLaughlin has no illusions. “This is still a tough Brexit. Northern Ireland is somewhat protected, but make no mistake. There is no such thing as Brexit. We are just trying to prevent the worst damage in this new business relationship.”
The MP is particularly concerned about the economy. “Trade with the Republic of Ireland will remain virtually frictionless. But Northern Irish companies trading with England, for example, will face hurdles in the form of additional controls and paperwork. We will be in economic trouble anyway.”
In Derry there is more concern than the economic damage. This is a city Bloody SundayOn Sunday 1972, British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians. Fourteen people died. After Bloody Sunday, conflict erupted in Northern Ireland, killing thousands of people. In Bugside, during that Problems It was a stronghold of the Irish Republican Army, and the large murals still remind us of that bloody battle.