Hillsborough, Co. Down, N. Ireland
Brexit has enlivened the border issue within Ireland as it threatens the Union. But paradoxically Sinn Fein are against Brexit and the DUP are for Brexit – although Brexit must be the right type of Brexit for Unionists. Traditionally the Union was important to maintain economic prosperity within NI. The EU however has been seen lately as the guarantor of economic prosperity for those on both sides of the border. So why the continued importance on maintaining the Union? It’s difficult to drop an idea after generations of struggle to secure something that was important at one time but is now of less importance. Many see the forthcoming general election as a sectarian head count within NI. A good showing for the DUP could mean the Union is threatened (depending on the nature of the “deal”) while a good showing for Sinn Fein will mean the Union is as it was. At a time when a new politics could have emerged within NI, we seem to be slipping backwards into the old clash between orange and green. Both unionist and nationalist need to question their traditional stance on the border as the Union no longer ensures greater economic prosperity and an all Ireland state far from bringing freedom (whatever that means) means, essentially, dictatorial rule from Brussels.