As national leaders squabble, is Ireland heading for a return of the ‘Troubles’?

Who do you believe?

Boris Johnson says the Northern Ireland border backstop must be removed from the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, or there can be no agreement.

Emmanuel Macron says it must stay.

Angela Merkel says she’s keen to hear what BoJob proposes as an alternative – but he can’t leave it until the last minute.

The Irish EU commissioner says Mr Johnson is “gambling with peace”.

And a group of Conservative MPs have pointed out that the backstop isn’t the only contentious part of the withdrawal document in any event!

It seems to This Writer that the Conservative Party’s leaders have decided that they don’t like peace in Ireland and want it to stop.

Source: Macron tells Johnson Brexit backstop is indispensable | Politics | The Guardian

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9 thoughts on “As national leaders squabble, is Ireland heading for a return of the ‘Troubles’?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      And if that leads to the resumption of hostilities in and related to Northern Ireland? It seems you’re happy to gamble with peace, as the Irish EU commissioner said last week.

  1. trev

    At the risk of appearing overly simplistic, wouldn’t the best solution be to give Ulster back to the Irish Republic? Those who identify as “British” (the Protestants) could be given the choice of remaining where they are and becoming Irish/EU citizens or have a British passport and a house in mainland Britain. It would mean building an extra half a million houses.

  2. alancmlaird

    Peace makes no money for the military/industrial that is the cornerstone of the neocon’s wealth. The EU has kept European peace for over 70 years. That’s why the break-up of the EU is their ultimate goal. Ending the Good Friday Agreement is just the first shot.

  3. Zippi

    I have said, many times, we should be able to leave the E.U. if we so choose, be it in 3 months, 3 years, or 30 years so, this issue needs to be sorted now and it is not just up to us to sort it. Aye, it is we who want to leave but not just us who will be affected so, it is in the interests of all parties concerned to find a workable solution and they all need to show willing. It is not fair to say that our wishing to leave is gambling with peace; the solution rests not in our hands alone. A financial journalist pal of mine said that the “Troubles” never really ended, we just didn’t hear about them. Another, Irish, pal of mine said that the Backstop is a ruse. I don’t know who to believe but I will say this; what makes anybody think that anybody can strike a different deal with the European Union that is not more to the benefit of the E.U. than is the current, failed, one? After all, we were told that this is the only deal and that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened. If that is the case, why did the E.U. grant an extension? Surely, it would have been better to refuse and leave us with the threat of no deal by our own hand? Unless, of course, it is all a ruse, a ploy, a negotiating tactic, designed to soften us? If the E.U. really won’t renegotiate, the extension was merely a political tool and we are kidding ourselves that anybody else can achieve anything else, unless it benefits the E.U., in which case we are being told porkies.
    From memory, the “Troubles” most affected Northern Ireland; that being the case, why are we not hearing more from the politicians of the North?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It is possible to negotiate another agreement that the EU would have supported. The sticking-point is the “red lines” the Tories insisted in imposing for no good reason. A Corbyn-negotiated agreement would have been a very different proposition!

  4. Growing Flame

    I suspect that the Belfast Peace Agreement was never really popular with die-hard Tories. They just put up with it as it was “the only game in town” at the time. It involved significant concessions by the British, notably releasing the prisoners and accepting that past actions would not lead to future arrests etc. A “deal”, in other words.
    But it really did not fit into the Right-wing Tory view of the world. In that world, Britain’s ruling-class is always right and their Army will always prevail.
    Subject peoples should be grateful for British control and , if there is resistance, it has to be dismissed as pathological terrorism, suitable only for the severest measures.
    We had decades of the newspapers telling us how the IRA was “reeling” , on the point of collapse, hopelessly unpopular and isolated etc etc

    Yet the violence continued and the more sensible Tories realised the game was up. Margaret Thatcher negotiated behind the scenes, John Major negotiated in open view , and , then, Tony Blair signed the final agreement.
    Right-wing Tories grumbled from the sidelines.
    But now, those grumblers have the whip hand in the Party. If Brexit threatens a return to violence , they are not at all deterred as they always wanted to carry on with the war anyway.
    As I say, in their world, their Army will always prevail, just as Britain will always intimidate the foreigners into signing advantageous trade deals.

  5. Gary

    There isn’t a simple yes/no answer to that question and both sides of this argument ie The Tories and the EU have talked up the possibility of a ‘return’ to The Troubles to bolster their point.

    The truth is The Troubles never went away. They DID reduce quite dramatically but not as much as we all (on the mainland) would believe. 99% of what happens in Northern Ireland simply isn’t reported in our newspapers or on television, they regard it as ‘local news’ and ignore riots and murders as being ‘insignificant’

    When Geoffrey Cox was reviewing May’s deal, specifically looking at the Backstop he specifically stated that should we find ourselves in a position where it (the backstop) had led to an increase in violence (in this instance from unionists) then the UK should be in a position to remove itself from the Backstop (which he later said it wouldn’t) The point I’m making is that he was ‘inviting’ this behaviour from Unionist Paramilitary (so it might seem) But not to be outdone, the EU side, by talking up the possibility of violence are, not as overtly, seeming to ‘encourage’ the same for the other side too.

    The people in Ireland are, as ever, the political football of those who run things. Unless things stay EXACTLY as they are now then it looks like it would be to the benefit of both sides if violence escalated (NOT started, it never stopped mind)

    However, ALL of this is to distract from the main event. The Tories ONLY care about this because they depend on their terrorist sympathising friends in the DUP for their majority and the EU only because it’s leverage. No one REALLY cares about the people who are suffering and will continue to suffer..

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