The Stream

Could Brexit bring violence back to Ireland?

Armed group uses Britain’s exit from Europe to recruit disaffected youth.

Last month, Ireland marked the 21st anniversary of the Belfast Agreement. The accord, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, is widely credited with bringing peace to Northern Ireland after 30 years of violence. But many now fear that Brexit could undo it all.

The deal created a power-sharing government – made up of the mostly Catholic Nationalists who want unity with the Republic of Ireland and the mostly Protestant Unionists who want the northern province to remain part of the United Kingdom. It also removed border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic Ireland, allowing citizens to live, work and study in either place.

Now, with Northern Ireland set to join the rest of the United Kingdom and exit the European Union and the Republic of Ireland staying in the European bloc, many fear the border could return and provoke a return to conflict.

An armed group known as “The New IRA” – responsible for the killing of journalist Lyra McKee – has already used Brexit as a recruiting tool and, though the group is small and marginalised, its recent activities underline the threat Brexit may pose to peace.

We’ll discuss that threat and ask what can be done to prevent it.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Susan McKay @SusanMcKay15  

Damian McGenity @Damian_McGenity 
Chief coordinator, Border Communities Against Brexit

Pearse Doherty @PearseDoherty
Sinn Fein TD, Donegal South West

Chris Smyth @ChrisSmyth237
Ulster Unionist councillor, Omagh Town

Read more: 
Northern Ireland’s peace was already in trouble. Brexit is making things harder to fix. – The Washington Post
Irish, British governments call new Northern Ireland talks – Al Jazeera 

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.