Northern Ireland, strained by Brexit, braces for walking season
Monica McWilliams, guardian and former politician concerned with the 1998 peace negotiations, said: “Loyalist threats, or violent actions, against a border along the Irish Sea can no longer be considered a national problem.
But the bigger problem, she said, is reassuring trade unionists and loyalists at a time when politics and demographics are moving so clearly against them. While there may be little need for food within the Republic of Ireland for a short-term referendum on unification, Sinn Fein is within power distance on either side of the border – growth that could put unification on the agenda.
At Sandy Row, the feeling of a group in retreat was palpable.
Paul McCann, 46, trader and longtime resident, heard how real estate builders bought blocks on the spur of the neighborhood to build upscale inns and apartments. The city, he said, wants to demolish the Boyne Bridge – a predecessor William of Orange is said to have crossed in that fateful battle with James II – to create a transportation hub.
“They are trying to whitewash our history,” McCann said. “They are making our loyalist communities smaller and smaller. “
For Gordon Johnston, a 28-year-old group organizer, it’s a matter of fairness: Loyalists have accepted the argument that the reimposition of a strict border between northern and southern Ireland could cause violence. The same precept should apply to Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.