By Finian Cunningham
July 30, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Britain’s Boris Johnson is going for it, a no-deal exit from the European Union. His cabinet of “hard Brexiteers” are turbo-charged for an abrupt departure; the consequences could be tumultuous for Ireland.
A hard-Brexit scenario which Johnson and his cabinet are pushing for will mean Britain leaving the EU’s single market and customs union without any transition deal. That will inevitably see the return of a hard border for trade and customs control between the Republic of Ireland (an EU member) and Northern Ireland under British jurisdiction.
Given the preponderance of daily trade and traffic between the north and south of Ireland, any such border control will cause immense damage to both economies.
But it’s not just about economics and damage to people’s livelihoods. The London government’s gung-ho stance on delivering Brexit is endangering the Irish peace process and devolved administration.
The Good Friday Agreement, signed in 1998, mandates the British and Irish governments to support a power-sharing deal between pro-British unionist parties and pro-independence nationalists in Northern Ireland. That agreement is dependent on maintaining an open border between the two jurisdictions on the island. That is a crucial element for nationalists because it recognizes their rights for a united Ireland.
Irish politicians, north and south, as well as European leaders have warned Johnson that ditching the backstop guarantee of an open border is unacceptable.
However, the British prime minister’s hard-ball approach indicates he doesn’t give a fig. Johnson has reportedly declined to even make a customary phone call to Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar to discuss his Brexit plans. There appears to be no attempt by the new occupant in Downing Street to meet with European counterparts.
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