Brexit will have “dire consequences” across Ireland and could evoke “violent reaction” from those on border counties, the Bishop of Down and Connor has warned this week.
Speaking to the German Catholic News Agency, KNA, Bishop Noel Treanor said: “As recently as 20 years ago, we still had the British army, armed checkpoints and police vehicles at the border. My fear is that if the border were once again to become a frontier – with all the necessary infrastructure involved – that will unfortunately almost certainly evoke some sort of violent reaction.” He added that as soon as this happens, further security measures and a larger police presence would follow.
Dr Treanor, who is also a vice-president of COMECE and President of the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions in Brussels, said that Britain and Ireland’s accession to the EU had “created the framework and provided the propellant for overcoming the ongoing conflicts between north and south at the time”. He also pointed that, thanks to the EU, in the last two decades: “peace, reconciliation and political progress has become possible in our divided Ireland”.
Bishop Treanor said that during the Brexit negotiations, parties paid little attention to key, complex questions which are affecting us now as public opinion had been “manipulated by fake news” and the atmosphere was still “strongly polarised and characterised by mutual recriminations and self-promotion”.
Despite these setbacks, he said the churches in Northern Ireland were actively trying to solve the problems of Brexit and the difficulties of forming a government in Northern Ireland noting how they had recently succeeded in bringing the representatives of Sinn Féin and the DUP together again in one room for the first time since the Northern Ireland Executive collapsed more than 18 months ago.