I don’t often agree with him… February 17, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
“[May] seems to be switching her language,” he said. “She’s saying not that there’ll be no border, but that the border won’t be as difficult as to create problems. I worry far more about what’s going to happen with that. It will take away the calming effects [of an open border]. Any attempt to try to start putting down border posts, or to man [it] in a physical sense as used to be the case, would be very hard to maintain, and would create a lot of bad feeling.”
As has been long noted here, so much of what she says is aspirational, and undetailed aspiration at that. That should be of major concern. And Ahern is correct in relation to the following too:
Ahern said he, too, was unconvinced that the current technology could do the job. There are 200 crossing points on the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, with 177,000 crossings by lorries a month, 208,000 by vans and 1.85m by cars.
“I haven’t found anyone who can tell me what technology can actually manage this,” Ahern said, adding that he feared the furious reaction of the unionist communities in the mid-1980s when the Republic was given an advisory role in the government of Northern Ireland could be repeated on the nationalist side if controls were reinstated. “Any kind of physical border, in any shape, is bad for the peace process,” he said.
Meanwhile the Observer casts yet further doubt on bilateral arrangements between the ROI and the UK – and this in the context of the GFA/BA.
The British prime minister has repeatedly suggested that the 1923 Common Travel Area deal can be the basis for the future, although it was signed before either state joined the EU.
However, a memo from the European parliament’s legal affairs committee, which is helping shape the negotiating position of the European commission and the red lines of the European parliament, rebuffs that suggestion: “The [Good Friday] agreement makes it abundantly clear that the fact that both parts of Ireland and the UK are within the EU is a basis for the agreement. Moreover, the fact that Brexit could result in the reintroduction of border controls and controls on the free movement of persons between Ireland and Northern Ireland means this is a question for the EU, and not only Ireland the UK.”
This last has been downplayed, not least in the British Supreme Court, but the EU is specifically mentioned in the text of the GFA/BA and I’ve wondered how it could not be involved. How to square that circle is near enough impossible to figure out. But one thing is for certain, this Tory government show no appetite to actually engage with it.