Throughout the Brexit deal talks, the issue of the Irish border has been a constant cause for concern and debate. This video shows why a hard border is just not an option.
A video from the Irish border created by the BBC in 2017 demonstrates how awkward it would be for locals and travelers alike if a “hard border” was to be established between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The video depicts how roads and the border weave back and forth, showing how one traveler can cross the border four times in 10 minutes. A car traveling on the one road east to west from Clones in Co. Monaghan to Co Leitrim will cross the border four times, which in the event of a hard border would mean possibly passing through four border checks during the short journey.
Crossing the Irish border four times in ten minutes. pic.twitter.com/RuzBqzvG5x— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 4, 2017
In December 2017, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar was all but ready to announce that a deal had been reached with the British government.
The deal was set to leave a “soft” border in place that would keep the EU freedom of movement through the whole island of Ireland, leaving “regulatory alignment” between the six counties and the Republic (EU) and meaning customs checks would not be necessary.
However, the Democratic Unionist Party, which is currently propping up Prime Minister Theresa May's government, refused to accept the deal, arguing that they would not accept any Irish border option that saw Northern Ireland being treated any differently than the rest of the UK after the UK leaves the EU.
A hard border would be a nightmare scenario. Currently, you can drive back and forth across the border, often unaware that you've changed jurisdictions. Often there is no sign of any indication that you have left or entered the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.
This is not just true along this one stretch of road either. Those who live in border areas often crossing the invisible line several times a day. Businesses operate seamlessly on either side of the border. Companies routinely have some aspect of production on one side of the border and ship half-finished products back and forth.
For example, Ireland's renowned cream liqueur, Baileys, is composed of milk and whiskey that comes from both sides of the border and mixed in one production facility. All of that might have to be unwound in the event of a hard border being implemented.
With Phase One Brexit talks again stalled due to the Irish border issue, May now has to convince either the Irish government (which has the backing of the rest of the European Union) to accept a hard border or persuade the die-hard Brexiteers to give up on the idea of leaving the common market, and accept "regulatory alignment” with the EU through the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland.
* Originally published in December 2017.
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