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A rather good compendium of where things stands in NI, from Politico.eu (I learned things):

Can Northern Ireland survive Brexit?

Naomi Long, the leader of Northern Ireland's center-ground Alliance Party, told POLITICO that before talk of a united Ireland can begin, the people of Northern Ireland must unite first, and they're nowhere near doing that.

Long, a native of overwhelmingly Protestant East Belfast, has seen the city's nearly 100 "peace lines" -- barriers of brick, steel and barbed wire separating nationalist and unionist districts -- continue to grow during the most recent two decades of relative calm, a period when the rest of Northern Ireland's capital has grown increasingly Catholic.

She says few in Dublin, London or Brussels understand how deeply segregated Belfast is and how dangerous the loyalist paramilitary threat can become when confronted with change. She has faced repeated threats because of her message of tolerance and compromise.

The Good Friday accord gives the British government the power to call a unity referendum if it believes a majority exists in Northern Ireland for this outcome. Former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who jointly oversaw the agreement, thinks 2028 - three decades after Good Friday - could be the year it happens.

Privately, many Irish diplomats hope Ahern is wrong. They broadly share British exasperation over Northern Ireland, where the two colliding national identities have mutated into a land of never-ending arguments. "The longer this remains London's problem, not ours, the better," says one.

Such views beg the question: Does London want rid of Northern Ireland more than Dublin wants it?

"Britain, as has become so apparent since the beginning of the Brexit saga, sees Northern Ireland as expendable," said Diarmaid Ferriter, professor of modern history at University College Dublin. "It really is the problem child that nobody wants."

by Bernard on Wed Apr 21st, 2021 at 08:05:24 PM EST

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