Will Brexit divide the Irish once again?

British Prime Minister Theresa May travelled to Belfast and tried to calm fears about a new border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. She promised that a practical solution in the best interests of the whole of the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland would be found. Irish commentators are not convinced.

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The Irish Independent (IE) /

New border too risky

The Irish Independent interprets Prime Minister Theresa May's words as a declaration of a return to a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and is outraged:

“Any altering of the status quo is fraught with political, social and economic risk. Ms May said that she did not want to see a return to the borders of the past, but any deviation from the fluid and open arrangement we have now would be regarded as retrograde. Any tampering with the Border is massively contentious, and ought be approached only with minds open to the enormous complexity involved. One would have thought this would entail detailed negotiation and consultation. For Ms May to declare that there will be a border suggests a shifting of positions that raises a number of questions that will need to be addressed.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Scottish-Irish union may be best response to Brexit

The only way to solve the question of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would be to create a three-union state of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland (SCINI), suggests the Irish Times:

“It depends on how bad the fallout from Brexit gets. If it's very bad indeed, resistance to it could well become the defining question for Scotland, Northern Ireland and, by extension, for the Republic. That common interest is what would make the unthinkable not just thinkable but enormously attractive. SCINI may be the only long-term solution to Northern Ireland's problem of double identity - the 'British' part of that identity has always been much more Scottish than English. It may also be Scotland's only way to stay in the EU. And it may be the Republic's only way to avoid the reimposition of an internal border on the island.”