Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Britain says unionist anger over Brexit deal could put Northern Ireland 'in quite a dangerous place'

WorldMar 19, 2021 04:22PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis is seen outside Downing Street in London 2/2

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday that anger in Northern Ireland's unionist community over the Brexit divorce deal was serious and cautioned the European Union that such tensions could ultimately undermine stability unless properly addressed.

Northern Ireland has always been the toughest issue in the Brexit divorce and just a month after the United Kingdom exited the EU, the European Commission briefly threatened to impose emergency controls on vaccines crossing the Irish land border.

Though the EU swiftly stepped back from that, tensions have been rising in Northern Ireland, a British province.

Britain last month unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food going from Britain to Northern Ireland - which effectively stayed in the EU's single market and customs union under the divorce deal to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

The EU has started legal action over Britain's move.

A senior pro-British loyalist said on Friday that Northern Ireland's 1998 peace agreement is under threat and a "Pandora (OTC:PANDY)'s box" of protest and political crisis will be opened unless the EU agrees to significant changes to the Brexit deal.

The peace accord, known as the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, ended three decades of violence between mostly Catholic nationalists fighting for a united Ireland and mostly Protestant unionists, or loyalists, who want Northern Ireland to remain an integral part of the United Kingdom.

The deal guaranteed an open Irish land border to help safeguard peace, free trade and travel on the island.

"If the unionist community feel that the Protocol is breaching the Good Friday agreement and moving away from the spirit of it, then we're in quite a dangerous place in terms of stability of not just the executive but the north-south institutions," British Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told reporters.

Loyalist paramilitary groups told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month that they were temporarily withdrawing support for the peace agreement due to concerns over the Brexit deal.

Lewis mentioned that warning.

"I don't agree with that, I think it would be a mistake, but it does underline the sense of tension ... We have to recognise there is that tension there," he said.

Lewis said Britain had to take unilateral action to extend grace periods, otherwise shops would have run out of goods in Northern Ireland.

"If we hadn't, if we'd have had another set of empty shelves this week ... the fallout from that in the unionist community means the Protocol would, I think, have been fatally flawed."

Irish nationalists Sinn Fein accused Lewis of hypocrisy and said his comments demonstrated a failure of the "rigorous impartiality" required by the Good Friday Agreement.

"This is the same British government who have signed up to the Protocol with the EU and have committed to its implementation," Sinn Fein Member of Parliament Chris Hazzard said in a statement.

The European Commission briefly threatened in January to impose emergency controls on vaccines crossing the open Ireland-Northern Ireland border, a step that Lewis said had ratcheted up tensions in the unionist community.

"We're still dealing with the fallout from that."

Britain says unionist anger over Brexit deal could put Northern Ireland 'in quite a dangerous place'
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email