By Sammy McNally
In Hugh Orde’s timely statement about the UK leaving the EU, but not having robust border controls in Ireland – he succinctly suggests that;
“If you shut the front door, leaving the back door open would be stupid.”
Unionists like Sammy Wilson (DUP), who are cute enough to know that although the return of border controls is in Unionist (ideological) interest and would go down well with their constituents also know that they can’t be seen to argue that in public and still hope to be able to present themselves as responsible enough for government.
By way of rebuttal of Orde’s statement Samuel offered us;
“Taoiseach Enda Kenny this week has not been definitive in his view that there would have to be border controls – there could be, there might be, there’s a possibility, and we have had some more positive comments that the CTA would be kept,”
Which is a fair point to make – except it undermines Sammy’s own case by reminding everyone that we currently have no border controls and after Brexit, he and those in the Leave campaign, can’t guarantee there will still be no border controls – and they can’t agree between themselves about what is actually going to happen.
The TUV position is that there will be some “complexities” in border security post Brexit and we can well imagine that if Unionists had any say in it – perhaps in the event of a hung parliament with turmoil in the Tory party after Brexit – such complexities would undoubtedly become greater if the Tories needed Unionist votes.
Of course, the idea that Eastern Europeans, like the the Albanians picked up on the South coast of England (on 29/05/2016) would not avail of an open border between the 2 parts of Ireland is plainly a complete nonsense.
EU Nationals (which according to the Bexiteers may well soon include Albanians and Turks) will, on balance, prefer the train trip to Belfast from Rosslare (having entered the Republic of Ireland legally as EU Nationals) rather than the speed boat across the busy English channel – and of course they just may prefer to stroll across the border at their leisure before heading off to their preferred destination of London – rather than clinging to the underside of a lorry going through the Chunnel.
And as the oft quoted street canines of Northern Ireland and any student of Irish history will know – the Irish (canine) tail never gets to wag the British dog. After all why should 60 million plus (and growing rapidly) mainlanders concerned about their own livelyhoods worry about their neighbours over the water – it simply hasn’t happened up until now when those interests have been in conflict.
The British people are quite entitled to prefer not to have an unlimited number of EU immigrants in their country or the reduction of sovereignty which membership of the EU entails – indeed the British (mainlander) arguments for Brexit are strong and arguably stronger that those to stay in the EU.
Unfortunately for the plain (Nationalist) people of Northern Ireland(and Ireland as a whole), British National interest is yet again in conflict with Irish National interest and Brexit is a classic example of why we in Ireland(North and South) should be pushing the case for a United Ireland.
In Ireland(North and South) we had a referendum on the GFA which confirmed the right of the people of Ireland to self- determination and contains the following clause;
“affirm that whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, the power of the sovereign government with jurisdiction there shall be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions and shall be founded on the principles of full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities”
Quite clearly organising a referendum that has the potential to rupture the economic and social integration of Irish people on both sides of the border is completely at odds with the principle outlined above that “just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities” and is, to use an infamous quote from earlier days, ‘bordering on the reckless’.
The ‘sovereign government’ of the UK has embarked on a referendum process which is welcomed by Unionists and Republican dissidents alike, who are being offered the prospect of rolling back the progress that has been made since the GFA with the border arrangements being thrown into turmoil and the prospect of the restriction of goods and people across the border and the inevitable requirement of security arrangements to enforce control. It is entirely reasonable to expect some deterioration in the security situation, as suggested by Hugh Orde and entirely reasonable to suggest that the current SOS for Northern Ireland, Ms Villiers, should not have retained her job as a campaigner for Brexit.
Demographics alone may not bring about a United Ireland, but this Brexit referendum, which is a clear breach of the spirit and arguably the letter of the GFA , should convince anyone from a Nationalist background( who will at some point in this century be in a majority in Northern Ireland) of the clear advantages of Unification of their country.