Political Forecast: Independent groups fear Brexit could cause paramilitary attacks on Northern Ireland
Brexit is seen as a threat by independent groups to overall peace and order in Northern Ireland. This, the parties concur is owed to the lack of a “devolved” government.
The fear is not baseless, let alone, ill-conceived given that in 1998, the Good Friday Agreement had to be made. This aimed to arrest the violence between Catholic Irish nationalists who want to unite with Ireland and the Protestant unionists who desired to remain within the United Kingdom. Their conflict resulted into 3,600 killings over 30 years.
Meanwhile, sudden rising tension within the past 4 years compelled lawmakers to establish a Independent Reporting Commission (IRC). The commission, whose 4 members were nominated by the British, Irish and Northern Irish governments, aimed at monitoring paramilitary groups.
A “situation of great complexity” was slated by the IRC in their second report. This is owed to Brexit and the 3-year old suspension of the devolved government that the peace deals had caused.
The police who had their post in the borders fear that political tensions ushered in by Britain’s divorce from the E.U. might stir violence.
“We understand why people make that claim,” the independent group, Watchdog had stated in an interview, “but the issues surrounding paramilitarism and why it continues to exist long pre-date Brexit.
“The real issue about the dangers for peace in Northern Ireland, therefore, is not that Brexit itself could be the direct cause of a renewal of violence, but rather that it has the potential to add fuel to the fire of continued paramilitarism.” The group representative added.
Within the 12 months to September, the IRC reported the killing of 3 people with 81 wounded in attacks allegedly by paramilitary groups. This is a considerable increase from 1 dead and 75 injured 12 months prior.
The IRC believes the greatest effort that it could exert to end paramilitarism is the return of the power-sharing government within the province.
Northern Ireland has been devoid of devolved executive since the Sinn Fein party excused itself out of the coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party due to the subsidy scandal.