Northern Ireland tries to live with ‘negative consequences of Brexit’

Daily Light specializes in distributing meals such as sandwiches to supermarkets in the UK and Europe. When Brexit happened, we had to make changessays the businessman.

Brexit has forced businessman Brian Reed to adjust his business. He now says he supports the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Photo: Radio Canada / Raphael Bouvier Auclair

By leaving the European Union, the UK has taken with it Northern Ireland, one of the regions of the country. However, the Republic of Ireland to the south is still a member of the union.

To avoid imposing a land border on this island that has been marked by years of sectarian violence, Brussels and London have agreed on a protocol ensuring that customs procedures are in place before some goods from the UK enter Ireland, both in the north and south.

Warren Point Harbour, Northern Ireland

Some British goods arriving at Warren Point, Northern Ireland, must face trade barriers.

Photo: Radio Canada / Raphael Bouvier Auclair

As a result, Brian Reid made it clear that he was ditching some of his British suppliers and establishing more links with companies based in the Republic of Ireland.

And he won’t be the only one who made that kind of decision. According to Queen’s University Belfast political scientist Katie Hayward, the available data show Significant growth in trade between North and South.

Belfast in the midst of a political storm

This protocol, which has yet to be fully implemented, is at the center of significant political tensions in Northern Ireland.

In a sign of its opposition to this agreement, the main union party in Belfast refuses to participate in the formation of the government.

Consequently, the activities of the Regional Parliament have not resumed normally since the elections held at the beginning of May, which led to the historic victory of Sinn Féin, a party pro-reunification of Ireland.

According to political scientist Katie Hayward, unionists fear that with the protocol in place The distance between Northern Ireland and Great Britain continues to widen and their place within the United Kingdom continues to matter.

UK flag

The flag of the United Kingdom flies in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Photo: Radio Canada / Raphael Bouvier Auclair

A discovery that echoes what Paul Berry, a unitary council member in Armagh, south of Belfast, said.

A sign of her belonging to the United Kingdom, a banner bearing the image of Queen Elizabeth, whose platinum jubilee will be celebrated this week, is proudly displayed in front of her desk. This border in the Irish Sea cuts us further from the United Kingdom. […] This has to goHe says.

Far from constitutional arguments, the chancellor invokes the economic consequences of denouncing the protocol.

Paul Berry, County Councilor of Armagh, Northern Ireland

Elected unionist Paul Perry denounces the protocol which he accuses of contributing to the further isolation of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.

Photo: Radio Canada / Raphael Bouvier Auclair

If the agreement benefits some business, Paul Perry ensures that the small Northern Irish merchants suffer. If you walk into a store and order a product, some will tell you they have stopped selling it because they can no longer bring it from EnglandHe said.

Paul Berry suggests that the protocol should at least be amended so that the authorities tax goods destined for export to the EU, but not those that must be consumed locally in Northern Ireland.

Roadside Logo Sticker

A poster promoting Irish unity, installed on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Photo: Radio Canada / Raphael Bouvier Auclair

The confrontation between London and Brussels

Faced with the dismay of its unionist allies in Belfast, Boris Johnson’s British government has in recent weeks raised the possibility of not honoring certain aspects of this agreement which it nonetheless signed. An idea that Brussels responded to with criticism and skepticism.

The only region where the UK and the EU meet head-on, Northern Ireland, whose population nonetheless rejected Brexit by 56% during the 2016 referendum, finds itself at the center of a struggle between two larger powers.

Northern Ireland exemplifies the difficult decisions and negative consequences of Brexit. »

Quote from Katie Hayward, Professor at Queen’s University Belfast
Katie Hayward, Professor at Queen's University in Northern Ireland

Professor Katie Hayward of Queen’s University says Northern Ireland must deal with the consequences of Brexit.

Photo: Radio Canada / Raphael Bouvier Auclair

Declan Gormley, a Belfast-area businessman who grew up when his district was rocked by bouts of violence, says policymakers need to be careful in their approach to the dossier. Peace is fragile in Northern Ireland, and it wouldn’t take much to provoke a reactionwarns.

Declan Gormley, whose company exports air conditioners across Europe, supports the protocol in its current form.

Entrepreneur Declan Gormley

Businessman Declan Gormley reminds us that peace is fragile in Northern Ireland.

Photo: Radio Canada / Raphael Bouvier Auclair

Contrary to what many loyalists fear, the contractor believes that by being present within the UK and retaining European markets, the protocol could encourage Northern Ireland to remain tied to London.

Prosperous Northern Ireland, which is attracting more investment, will be less tempted to leave the UK for a united IrelandHe says.

But for the time being, he particularly regrets the political instability and uncertainty caused by the debates around this thorny issue.

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