Aspiration or guarantee?
The ‘frictionless’ border
in Breaking peace
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Chapter 5 focuses on the key issue of the future of the Irish border and why this proved to be such a difficult issue for the UK in its Brexit negotiations with the EU.

It demonstrates how Brexit complicates the issue of political self-determination in Ireland and raises the issue of how the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the UK and Ireland will be maintained outside of the customs union. This chapter explores how the border issue was defined during the Brexit negotiations, how it divided the main political parties and their wider electorates, and the degree to which this presented new political incentives to the main political parties – specifically Sinn Fein and the DUP.

The rise of the border as a political issue after the Brexit referendum forced people to confront what the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) had managed to de-escalate. In blunt terms: which side of the binary line did people live on – the British part of Ireland or the Irish part of Ireland? In this sense Brexit re-weaponised the partition of Ireland and the ‘constitutional question’ which had been skilfully parked by the terms of the GFA since 1998.

Breaking peace

Brexit and Northern Ireland


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