October 8, 2017

EU plan to annex Northern Ireland may spark war

The EU’s insistence on a sea border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would mean a de facto reunification of Ireland, rekindling a bitter struggle between Republicans and Unionists that saw nearly four thousand killed, says Andre Walker.

At the outset of Brexit, all sides openly agreed there should be no border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but it now seems the Europeans were being sneaky when they made the pledge. It has now emerged they are keen to see a border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, despite them being the same country.

Given most people are confused by the geography of the UK it is worth quickly recapping before I go any further. Great Britain is the largest of over six thousand British Isles, the second largest is Ireland. Great Britain is home to England, Scotland and Wales, while Ireland houses both the Republic and Northern Ireland. The other islands are mostly tiny and contained within the jurisdiction of whichever country they happen to be nearest to.

Under the 1922 Common Travel Area agreement, which predates the EU’s creation.  Citizens of the Republic of Ireland and the UK can live and work in each other’s country. Citizens of both countries can cross the border without immigration documents and are not considered aliens when they arrive.

During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, border guards were put in place to disrupt terrorist activity but ‘hard borders’ were abolished following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The agreement established partial self-rule in Northern Ireland whilst keeping it in the UK, it also guaranteed rights of both Ulster Scots (who consider themselves British) and Catholics (who consider themselves Irish).

This week a leaked document showed the European Commission might well be serious about its rumoured plans to demand a ‘hard border’ be created.  So far it wants the Irish Sea to be the border, meaning that goods and people entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK would face checks and perhaps even passport controls.

Worse still the EU’s reason for wanting this is because it wants to keep Northern Ireland subject to European Single Market rules. This means laws governing Northern Ireland would be made in Brussels, despite the territory having no representation there after Brexit.

One can only assume the interests of Northern Ireland would be looked after by the Republic of Ireland. Something that would rightly be seen as a partial annexation by the EU and the Irish Republic, of a territory that has a majority of citizens opposed to their control.

Some years ago, I went on a visit to Northern Ireland and met a group of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) prisoners in their heartland of Shankill Road. ‘Prisoner’ is a polite term for convicted terrorists released from prison in exchange for a ceasefire from the UVF under the Good Friday Agreement.

They told me in no uncertain terms that their commitment to the ceasefire and devolution in Northern Ireland was contingent on no moves being made to put them under the rule of the Republic. One even said to me he still had a Kalashnikov hidden, just in case the time came when he needed to fight to keep the North in the UK.

This is a volatile situation, with the Ulster-Scots afraid they might be ‘sold out’ and their territory handed to the Republic. If they perceive any threat to their position they would fight, and so the EU’s demands dramatically heighten the risks of war.

The British should respond by refusing any border even if that is a unilateral move. The UK could easily let the Republic build whatever border the EU wants but not respond by building one of its own. That way a clear message would be sent to everyone in Ireland that it is the EU who are putting peace at risk.

Recent problems in Catalonia have shown the EU will not act to preserve peace if it feels its interests are better served by violence.

The EU should not be allowed to put nearly 20 years of progress at risk over this petty land grab.

4.70 avg. rating (93% score) - 33 votes
Andre Walker
Andre Walker
Andre Walker is lobby correspondent and columnist for the New York Observer. He covers the work of the British Parliament and Prime Minister. Before joining The New York Observer he was part of the team that established Breitbart London.
  • Rainbow Six

    All the credit must go to whoever brainwashed them.

  • John M

    The only way this is going to be resolved is for the Irish Government to grow some backbone and tell Guy Verhofstadt to STFU and keep his meddling out of what is nothing to do with him.

  • Count Boso

    No, I’m afraid you’re on your own there

  • Count Boso

    I think you credit them with too much effort

  • Captain Cutlass

    The good old days, you miss them too, go on admit it….

  • Captain Cutlass

    Between Catalonia and Valencia for instance?

  • Rainbow Six

    Yes, because they have cleansed their souls of whiteness and have repented all the sins done by the white race. So they are superior. and smug.

  • marc biff

    Sarcasm alert.

  • Count Boso

    Consider Rainbow Six: would people who were truly self-loathing be so smug?

  • Count Boso

    spent all his money on dykes? Tell me more!

  • Grumpy

    Was she Offa’s dyke?

  • con

    The most hating and hateful newspaper in the UK is without any doubt, the Guardian. Wall to wall sneering and hatred throughout the rag.

  • Rainbow Six

    So Ethelfleda didn’t kick Viking ass at Wodensfield and York never surrendered before she got there?

  • Rainbow Six

    I don’t know what I’m doing 95% of the time. You’re right about their despising and hatred of their own kind which surely must mean they have a self-loathing of their white skin and the so called white privilege. Educated whiggers, maybe?

  • Grumpy

    Mercia was taken over by the Danish Host after Offa spent all his money on Dykes–Wessex rescued them.

  • The Banana

    What of it? it’s illegal to sell it, not illegal to bring it into the country in a backpack.

  • wolfhound

    The EU just wanted Ukrainians to enjoy the many benefits of the EU like the rest of us do. Why should we be the only ones to have the pleasure of Merkel and Juncker ?

  • Count Boso

    I’m not sure if you’re meant to be replying to me or Capt Cutlass. But while I’m here I may as well remark that I think you’re wrong: such people are not self-loathing – that would be understandable – they despise their own nation or tribe in almost all circumstances in order to enjoy a warm feeling of moral elevation. They are the opposite of self-loathing.

  • Rainbow Six

    So, you are one of these self-loathing people who despise everything British. So please tell us who in your noble opinion have been on the right side of history?

  • manofthepeepl

    SOH fail.

  • Rainbow Six

    But Northern Ireland and Scotland both voted to remain in the EU, so let them. Ireland showed its support to Germany during WWII and Scotland’s traditional ally is the French. Let the EU, or the interfering Yanks look after them.

  • Rainbow Six

    Yes but let us have a vote and then build a new wall and both Scotland and Northern Ireland can be free of us colonialists.

  • Rainbow Six

    Yes and Mercia did well before Wessex decided to stick its nose in.

  • Rainbow Six

    Why can’t “we” have a vote on NI and Scottish independence?

  • Rainbow Six

    I’d say the EU caused the war in Ukraine on the orders of the Yanks.

  • Rainbow Six

    I thought it was some guy called Count Coudenhove-Kalergi whose idea it was to start the forerunner of the EU and at the time France was running roughshod over the Germans.

  • Prompt Critical

    You mean, changing a chopper into a cleaver?

  • Prompt Critical

    You don’t get it. It’s the peace between France and Germany that is being referred to as being the creation of the EU. Not peace with Russia.

  • Prompt Critical

    And quite right too. No surrender!

  • wolfhound

    Your dad sounds like one of those haters who reads the DM and voted for Brexit.

  • Jim McMillan

    Possibly the most idiotic, ignorant and ill-informed comment I’ve read online this year.

  • Grumpy

    We should go back to the Heptarchy. Wessex did pretty well before the Froggies interfered.

  • Grumpy

    Nick Clegg said it too and as everyone knows, St. Nicholas never told a lie–honest!

  • jonlivesey

    Under the Good Friday Agreement both the UK and Irish Governments guaranteed the right of self-determination to Northern Ireland. Quoting from the wiki on the GFA:

    “The agreement reached was that Northern Ireland would remain part of the
    United Kingdom until a majority both of the people of Northern Ireland
    and of the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise.”

    If we now decide otherwise otherwise, over the heads of the people of NI, we will be violating a solemn promise that we made voluntarily, and as part of an International Treaty. This means that speculation about what some people on the IRA supporting left might wish to do about NI is irrelevant. We either keep a Treaty that a Labour Government signed, or we violate it.

    Since the last time they voted, NI chose to remain part of the UK by a 70/30 majority, it’s not very likely that the decision would be reversed today. Of course, if NI held another referendum and decided to join the republic, we are signed up to make that happen, but what we can’t do is either by ourselves or in cahoots with the EU, make a United Ireland happen by stealth or by force.

    As things are, Northern Ireland is part of the UK, so the International border is between NI and the Republic, even though we and the Republic decided a century ago, not to make it a hard border. The UK has offered to keep that century long arrangement in place and use technical means to monitor trade traffic. If the EU obstructs that and refuses to implement it, that is the best argument I can think of for leaving the EU without an exit agreement, but only after making it very clear that we offered a simple solution, and it was the EU that refused it.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    I said Scotland was a very similar situation and nothing you said above really changes my view (just 1 example if you think NI costs then so does Scotland – same difference, that was my point to the gentleman above!!) , but moving on…… as for your other point, surely wanting ”independance” within the EU is a oxymoron ? ….. and the way the EU is going they surely now dream of become a ‘state’ of sorts . A pipedream perhaps 😉
    On your last point you’re right that’s all totally anecdotal ……. I could also suggest to you something anecdotal….a) back in the 80s/90s, when the IRA were doing there worst, occasionally I had several useful idiots in the UK telling me that that ‘we Brits should get out of Ireland’ . I remonstrated at the time and it was quite rare even then.. But anyway nowadays I never hear anyone saying that to me. The Northern Irish people both Protestant or Catholic are much happier people. Also majority of Catholics are not ardent fenians. Some are republicans but many of them quietly are happy with the status quo and don’t seriously want united ireland… Overall – why change and bugger it all up! b) Now – If you talk to anyone in the UK and said categorically whether they’d like to dump NI and Scotland, then I’d suggest the majority would say “no”!. So overall that’s my turn to be Anecdotal !……… Realistically if you want to talk money, then it’s not just NI that costs, it’s also Scotland and Wales and other de-industrialised parts of the UK (including the north + midlands)…. where once mighty industries were are now the welfare state and dependancy (cost cost cost)…. It’s a sad fact of the modern UK that the largest contributor is London/SE with all its service economy + financial services. …But the The danger is with the money argument is where does it all end? ….Before we know it England would be on it’s merry own. Quite sad……. Finally most importantly it’s upto the people themselves. That’s our democracy ….Scotland voted to stay. NI is keen to stay…At the end of the day it’s doesn’t matter what we think, it’s up to them!

  • jonlivesey

    You are misrepresenting the situation. The UK wants the current soft border to continue. It is the EU that is objecting because that will also be its own international border – unless, of course, it manages to put NI under its own jurisdiction.

  • jonlivesey

    “Wanting to be shot of NI, or even believing that it should be part of a United Ireland, has nothing to do with support for the IRA.”

    It has an awful lot to do with the future of NI *not* being decided by the people of NI, but by someone else instead. The GFA guaranteed self-determination. If we tear it up now, we are going back on a promise we entered into voluntarily. Were we not acting in good faith?

  • jonlivesey

    The common thread in your posts is that some “we” should take this decision, and not the people of NI. What exactly is wrong with letting them decide their own future?

  • jonlivesey

    “the GFA was essentially a semi-respectable way of getting halfway out”

    NI voted 70/30 to remain part of the UK. in what way, exactly, is that “a semi-respectable way of getting halfway out”.

  • Demos2

    Ulster Scots? Surely Unionists.

  • Tony Griffiths

    My dad said in the 1950s if you want to know the truth, always take the opposite line to the Guardian (Manchester Evening news). It seems he might have been wrong. Oh dear….

  • lizmilton

    One problem…when they were forced to vote again on the Lisbon TreAty, the Irish negotiated an opt out, so their youth will not be conscripted into the EU army…unless like the rest of the youth of the EU…

    Age of conscription? 16, I would guess as the legal age to make a Will has just been lowered to 16..,and we know our governments always do Brussels will while appearing to be acting independently…

  • lizmilton

    Correct…Read the documentary evidence of the start of the EU in 1941 to ensure complete German domination of Europe on

    Reject-the-Eu.co.uk

    You might also care to read how Merkel is building a European town on a German army base so her Stormtroopers can practice putting down dissent…see “Germany and NATO: towards martial law and fascist repression in Europe?”
    The globalresearchdot ca listing gives links to the original German article…

  • Count Boso

    I can’t agree with you there. The British, and just about every other nation, were often wrong in the past. in fact I believe people in olden times had totally unacceptable views: they were often racist, sexist, homophobic, elitist, exploited the environment, were careless about animal welfare, drank too much and sometimes ate each other

  • Kingstonian

    You are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. When we leave the EU, since we have had a “soft” border with the RoI since 1922, we revert to status ante. It is the EU that wants to impose a border. Well, let them define how that is going to work and let the RoI agree with their masters in Brussels.

  • bs

    It’s not just people – what about chlorinated chickens &c from the US or contraband goods?

  • The Banana

    The EU has never been very good at implementing borders; it seems puzzling that while they dismantle all the other external borders they seem so avid on having a border in some distant corner of it that is facing another country which will in turn have hard borders between it and any illegal migrant producing nation.

    Do they think illegal migrants are going to take the time to sail to Belfast so they can hop over the border there? Somehow I doubt it when they can just land on Lampedusa with the tacit support of the EU.

  • AA_Bill

    “cleaver”?
    Hoist by your own petard there.

  • AA_Bill

    Give it time.
    Once Britain has left and they have to increase their contribution to the EU, and of course transit UK customs en route to the continent and pay our tariffs they will.

  • obbo12

    Kenneth MacAlpin, lived 810 to 858. The Viking conquest of Dublin was in 850s and the viking grant of land in Normandy was in 911. I do not understand what point you are trying make

  • wolfhound

    Better be careful with that if you want to join NAFTA.

    Mr. Trudeau says we are now in the age of post-nation states. I’m not sure what he means, but I’m sure he is as clever as his father. He’s going to see Mr. Trump today to see if they can sort out their differences over NAFTA. I hope he’s got a nice pair of socks to wear for his selfie.

  • wolfhound

    Sadly, May and the rest of them are no match for MT. A bunch of snowflakes.

  • ale bro

    the normans were vikings – defo not english at the time

  • EppingBlogger

    The time is coming, or maybe it has passed, when the British government should tell the EU to stop creating difficulties and stop interferring in UK internal affairs. The threat should be significant political and diplomatic non-cooperation with the EU and empty seats at the Brexit negotiations. For too long the FCO and Government in general have been subordinate to the EU and they seem not to have understood how sovereign independent natiuons work – specifically they do NOT allow other nations, even otherwise friendly ones, to interfer. Remember how Maggie tore into Ronnie when the US invaded Granada without prior consultation with the UK; he did not for get for a long time. The EU is no USA and none of the EU presidents is a match for said Ronnie.

  • wolfhound

    I think there’s more mountain barriers in Spain than between Spain and Portugal.

  • wolfhound

    Are you sure ?

    it’s not just the ones I quoted; Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Juncker have said the same thing on many occasions. They can’t all be wrong. The Americans are also a bunch of warmongering fascists – just ask Mr. Putin and that nice man in Tehran whose name is too difficult for me to spell.

  • Captain Cutlass

    EU keeps peace? No it’s not, it’s NATO that keeps the peace. NATO and the the Americans

  • Captain Cutlass

    Wolfhound is right and it’s a daft phrase. We’ve been on the side of truth, justice and good most of the time….My country right or wrong

  • Captain Cutlass

    Looks like it is but there’s bridge of mountains forming a high natural frontier with Spain….

  • obbo12

    I’ll think you will find that the Vikings held Dublin only and not of all Ireland.

  • ale bro

    norway held ireland and the isle of man so they must have a claim

  • bs

    I am sorry, but this is absolute horse. RoI joined the EEC on the same day as the UK, 01.01.73. They are both part of a Customs Union and Single Market as a members of the EU. There have never been any issues about people or goods crossing the physical border between NI and RoI because prior to 01.01.73 RoI and the UK were free to manage their affairs, which they did with the 1922 Agreement, and subsequently they have been partners in the EEC/EC/EU. When, as the result of our choice, the UK leaves the EU it wants to ‘take back control’ and have a different customs, immigration, and regulatory regime to RoI. The border has the obvious potential to be a super-highway for smugglers, traffickers, and illegal immigrants into and out of the EU. It is hardly surprising that the other members of the EU27 wish to protect the integrity of their union and single market by ensuring that the border is not a weakpoint. It is totally unacceptable and arrogant that the UK is so insouciant and dismissive of the fears of the EU 27, and in particular RoI, about a problem which is entirely of its creation. Despite the fact that the issue of the Irish border was mentioned in the run up to the EURef it is still the case that the UK has no answer to this intractable problem beyond saying that we agree with RoI and the EU 27 that we don’t want border infrastructure, but that the EU 27 ought to be creative. Well, the EU has made a creative suggestion. It’s no good standing back and criticising the attempts to solve a problem of our creation – what is our suggestion.

  • geo

    is it just me or is it really every time the EU tries something “smart”, they increasingly come over as a petty, embryonic tyranny/dictatorship that has no other interest but subjugating people, removing their free will and acquiring their property?

  • wolfhound

    It would bankrupt the RoI, as well as causing much strife.

  • wolfhound

    It’s a stupid phrase used by lefties to justify many of their crazy policies.

  • wolfhound

    Portugal is geographically part of Spain. If Catalonia leave perhaps Castile and the rest can have Portugal as recompense.

  • wolfhound

    But, but, it’s the EU that has kept the peace in Europe since 1945. They would never want to start civil strife like the Russians did in Ukraine a few years ago.

    I know it’s true because I read it in the Guardian and the BBC have said the same thing on more than one occasion.

  • obbo12

    The public have had the choice of voting for an IRA supporting party and they have never put them in office. John Major in a speech in the commons refereed to his party as the conservative and unionist party. Your own dislike in not represented in the ballot box.

  • Sir Percy Ware-Armitage

    Andre Walker you know nothing. Try living in NI for a few years and you’ll see that the only thing to bring back the troubles is IRA McDonnell getting his dirty hands on power

  • Count Boso

    I’m trying to get my head round this. For how much of our history have we been on the wrong side of it?

  • Salmondnet

    Wanting to be shot of NI, or even believing that it should be part of a United Ireland, has nothing to do with support for the IRA. If you look at what both major parties have done since John Major it is pretty clear that they regard NI as an embarrassment and would welcome a respectable way t get out (the GFA was essentially a semi-respectable way of getting halfway out). In any event, political parties, in the absence of referendums, seldom fully reflect the views of the electorate on any given issue. I doubt more than a handful of people without Irish ancestry ever, in recent decades, decided which party to vote for on the basis of it policy on NI and actually anecdotes can be evidence, just not conclusive evidence. Let us both hope that the English get a direct vote on Northern Ireland in the near future so that the matter can be evidentially resolved.

  • ReefKnot

    The EU aren’t in a position to insist on anything. They are just a trading bloc.

  • obbo12

    The fact that the governing party full title is the conservative and unionist party. The fact only Jermery Corbyn and the extreme left support the IRA. You know real world votes that sort of thing?

  • Salmondnet

    OK. You are free to ignore them. What evidence do you have that suggests otherwise?

  • obbo12

    Anecdotes are not evidence.

  • Salmondnet

    You may need to explain that. The relatives of which victims, Irish or English? If you mean English, I imagine some might want to hang on to NI, taking the view that their relatives sacrifice will not then have been in vain, while others would just be relieved to be shot of the place. During the troubles I met serving soldiers who, while doing their duty, took the latter view. Either way, I am just honestly reporting what I was and am told.

  • Ozfan

    Far better for the Irish to join the UK !

  • obbo12

    Tell that to the relatives of the IRA’s victims.

  • Salmondnet

    Scotland can of course go as soon as the separatists can win a referendum, but the Scottish separatists want “independence” within the EU. They aren’t looking to become part of another nation state, let alone one which might to want to incur the expense of receiving them, so not entirely comparable. Scots also less prone to extreme violence and generally less of a pain in the backside.
    On your last point, even two decades ago, before the Blair devolution disaster, when I still believed in a Untied Kingdom of GB & NI, I found it very hard to find an English man or woman who really wanted to hang on to NI. I find it even harder now. Anecdotal of course. Perhaps NI supporters are naturally reticent. I rather doubt it though

  • Mojo

    I do not want to see NI under Irish rule as the people there choose to remain in the UK. The falklanders chose the same as did the Gibraltarians. Why should people who have legitimately asked to Remain part of the UK be penalised to satisfy a communist EU state that only wants to destroy the UK anyway it can. As they are trying to do in Ukraine and as they will try to do in Spain if it suits their agenda.

  • obbo12

    No they don’t. To the Pictish kingdoms of the main land, main threat was the Anglo Saxons. The kingdom of Northumbria took Edinburgh, the clue is the name. The first king of Scotland, Kenneth MacAlpin, was a Scot according to legend, but most likely there was some relationship to previous Pictish kings. MacAlpin and his successors consolidated their hold over increasing areas of what’s now Scotland.

  • ale bro

    surely the vikings have a better claim than anyone?

  • obbo12

    Stick to drinking

  • ale bro

    forgetting the strathclyde welsh is just plain racist

  • obbo12

    Oh look it someone who thinks they are cleaver. Ever heard of auto correct changing things.

  • siphil

    Scotts?

  • obbo12

    The use of the term Ulster Scotts is downright racist and ulterly ignorant of history. The Scotts originated from Ulster and invaded both England and Scotland from the 4th century AD onwards. The medieval kingdom of Scotland was formed by Picts and Irish Scotts. The constant attempt to delegitimise any non Catholic living in Ireland is just bigotry.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    Using the same logic – why not say goodbye to Scotland also ? … Very similar. The truth it would be damaging for either of them to leave the UK. The EU autocrats will be laughing at us…… Also I’m not really sure if anyone can say ‘most people would gladly see the back of NI’ . Abit of a sweeping generalisation….. I think you really meant ‘some’

  • Wallunit

    I doubt one can get on a plane from London to Belfast,or a ferry, without good ID, and passports are probably what most people use. So is it a big deal? What would be a big deal is if goods between Britain and NI are subject to customs duties etc.

  • Captain Cutlass

    Sad fact is most people in the UK would gladly see the back of Northern Ireland. It should never have been partitioned in 1922. It’s geographically part of Ireland and roughly half its people are Irish any way. In the Brexit ref 56% of NI voted to stay in the EU. They should and they should seek representation by joining up with the rest of Ireland. We save money, lives and resources and we have the satisfaction of being on the right side of History for a change.

  • Salmondnet

    In terms of public expenditure the rest of the UK subsidises Northern Ireland by about £10 Billion a year (not very different from our net payment to the EU). So appropriate response: OK, good. Northern Ireland is now the responsibility of the Irish Republic and the EU. No more money from the UK and no British resources to be used to combat terrorism from either side. The very best of luck to all who remain concerned.

  • James_Spencer

    We already have an Irish Sea border for livestock at Larne, something the Rev Ian Paisley campaigned for. Extending this regime to foodstuffs (the leaked commission proposal) is actually a big climb down from their earlier proposals of full inclusion in the Single Market, and is an achievement for the British negotiating team.

    This is not about transferring sovereignty, but the location of meat testing sheds.

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