For the people of Northern Ireland, which is worse, A) a hard border with the Republic of Ireland or B) reunification of Ireland?

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

My personal preference is for Brexit to be cancelled.

I am from the Republic, but now live in Northern Ireland. My brothers live 20 minutes drive away, in the Republic. I’ve lived in various parts of the UK for all my adult life, and, purely for my own personal convenience, would prefer to stay in the UK. For me to return to the Republic would require quite a learning curve as I haven’t a notion how things like healthcare work, and I’d have all the hassle of transferring my UK accounts, child benefit, National Insurance credits, pension entitlement, private pension, etc., etc. and it’s just such a draaaaaagggg. Ugh. Then there’s the annoyance of custody and access arrangements for my half-Brit kiddo…

I was born shortly before the Troubles started, and many of my earliest memories are of nervous boy-soldiers hiding in ditches along the border, chicanes and road humps at border crossing points, and long drive-arounds because so many roads were simply closed to traffic. After the peace deal, it was glorious. Northern Ireland, Republic, UK or united Ireland, it didn’t matter – we were all European. Sure, it was irritating still having to change money – sterling to euros, and Northern Irish notes to English – and flights to Northern Ireland still boarded as far from the terminal as they could get and still be part of the same airport – but none of it mattered any more. Unionists didn’t have to worry about being forced into the cloudy grey skies of a “Free State” (a lot of them have never dropped the term), and the nationalists had as many links with the Republic as they could want (and still have their lovely free NHS). No more searches at shop entrances, no more Friday traffic standstills in Belfast as bomb disposal checked out the 20-odd bomb threats called in, no more checking the news before you went out for a drink to see if the pub you were going to was a) still standing and b) reachable without braving a ‘suspicious package’.

Now, I don’t see how a border of some kind can be avoided. It might be where the old border was, or it might be an imaginary passport boundary over the Irish Sea. It might mean many roads are closed to goods vehicles, or there could be special cameras and weighing points. People in cars and buses might be subject to random stop and search. Any of these could rile up the paramilitaries on one side or another, and we’ll be back where we started.

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