Irish and Northern Irish Leaders Make Contradictory Brexit Demands

Northern Ireland flag Londonderry
The Ulster Banner flies over Londonderry in Northern Ireland, August 17, 2009 (Wikimedia Commons)

Leaders from Ireland and Northern Ireland have made contradictory demands that threaten to hold up the Brexit negotiations.

  • Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of Ireland, has threatened to veto progress in the talks unless a hard border with Northern Ireland is ruled out.
  • Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, whose support Theresa May’s Conservatives need for their majority in Westminster, has said she will accept neither a barrier between the province and the rest of the United Kingdom nor an agreement that would force Northern Ireland to mirror EU regulations.

They can’t both have their way. Read more “Irish and Northern Irish Leaders Make Contradictory Brexit Demands”

British Reject Plan to Keep Northern Ireland in Customs Union, Single Market

Belfast Northern Ireland
Aerial view of Belfast, Northern Ireland (iStock/Mlenny)

Britain is fighting an EU proposal to keep Northern Ireland in the bloc’s customs union and single market in order to avoid closing the border with the rest of the island.

“We will leave the EU in 2019 as one United Kingdom,” James Brokenshire, Theresa May’s Northern Ireland secretary, has said.

He argued on Monday it would be “impossible” for the province to remain half in EU when the rest of the country exits. Read more “British Reject Plan to Keep Northern Ireland in Customs Union, Single Market”

As Britain Prepares to Leave EU, Irish Eye Unification

British prime minister David Cameron welcomes his Irish counterpart, Enda Kenny, to 10 Downing Street in London, England, November 9, 2015
British prime minister David Cameron welcomes his Irish counterpart, Enda Kenny, to 10 Downing Street in London, England, November 9, 2015 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Georgina Coupe)

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny has for the first time raised the option of unification with Northern Ireland, saying, “The discussion and negotiations that take place over the next period should take into account the possibility.”

Kenny’s liberal Fine Gael party hasn’t historically advocated the incorporation of British Northern Ireland into the Irish republic, but the European Union referendum last month has made the situation more fluid.

Northern Ireland, like Gibraltar and Scotland, voted largely to stay in the EU while majorities in England and Wales opted to leave. Read more “As Britain Prepares to Leave EU, Irish Eye Unification”

Deal to Preserve Power Sharing in Northern Ireland

The Ulster Banner flies over Londonderry in Northern Ireland, August 17, 2009
The Ulster Banner flies over Londonderry in Northern Ireland, August 17, 2009 (Wikimedia Commons)

The leaders of Northern Ireland’s two largest parties reached a deal on Tuesday to preserve the power-sharing agreement that has kept the peace in the province for two decades.

The breakthrough came after ten weeks of negotiation with the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Read more “Deal to Preserve Power Sharing in Northern Ireland”

Unionists Pull Out of Northern Ireland Executive

Northern Ireland’s first minister, Peter Robinson, stepped down on Thursday and pulled most of his Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) ministers out of the region’s devolved government in an escalation of its standoff with the republican Sinn Féin.

The only unionist cabinet minister who did not resign, Arlene Foster, is taking over as acting first minister.

The resignations come after Robinson failed to gain the backing of other parties to suspend the Northern Ireland assembly and call early elections. His sudden withdrawal from the provincial government casts doubt on a power-sharing agreement that has kept the peace in Britain’s Irish enclave for twenty years. Read more “Unionists Pull Out of Northern Ireland Executive”