Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has said that during a trip to Ireland later this week he will visit the border areas that are soon to become the divide between the UK and the EU. Meanwhile, Theresa May in the run-up to the election that she has made all about Brexit has reversed her earlier promise to visit the place that will likely be most affected by the split with Europe. In this time of uncertainty for Northern Ireland with threats of a return to the hard border of the past, Northern Ireland is currently reliant on the people who are supposedly the UK’s opposition in the negotiations to look out for our interests. The paradox of this situation does not seem to be particularly bothering any of our politicians.
This marks the second time in two months that Mrs May has shown little regard for Northern Ireland and any potential political crisis we may face. Her decision to call an election in the first place halted all chances of an agreement being reached at Stormont, leaving Northern Ireland without a government for the foreseeable future.
As for our own local politicians, they are far from without blame in the situation we now find ourselves in. They have completely abandoned us in this time of great importance in their failure to form a government. Even the pro-EU parties have failed to unite around this common cause to ensure the best deal for Northern Ireland.
Concerned, not without justification, that a pact between the pro-EU parties would be viewed as nothing more than a nationalist pact by another name. At a time when peace and the future of Northern Ireland are at stake we find ourselves completely unrepresented and yet the EU have not taken advantage of this but rather have taken the responsibility unto themselves. Is it any wonder Northern Ireland voted to remain in the Union that is now showing an interest in our wellbeing even as we prepare to leave it?
By Finn Purdy