A year ago, the United Kingdom decided to split from the European Union. They’ve been discussing what this split is. Throughout the process, the fate of Ireland and North Ireland has been up in the air, especially with regards to how open the border will between the north and south. This is a huge obstacle to a solution.
Bloomberg reports, “The seemingly intractable question of the Irish border is now looking like the biggest single obstacle to Britain obtaining the ‘sufficient progress’ verdict it so desperately wants from the EU27 at their mid-December summit.”
With Brexit, there will be a hard border in Ireland. This means in order to cross the border between Ireland and North Ireland, checkpoints will be put up on the border between the UK owned territory of Ireland and the independent country in the north. It seems the Irish are strongly opposed to this, saying it will remind them of when there was strife between the north and south.
Fin 24, a news outlet, explains, “Ireland wants to avoid any kind of border on the island after Brexit and the European Commission is backing its stance. A policed frontier and customs controls will be needed somewhere, as the UK is leaving the single European market that allows the border now to be almost invisible. A return to checkpoints would stir memories of decades of violence and also harm the island’s economy.”
Northern Ireland had a vote to see if they should secede from the European Union. A majority of them voted to stay in the EU. Presently, Northern Ireland has a soft border. This means anyone in the European Union can enter the country, making it easy to trade with other countries.
Per CNN, “A majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU in last year’s Brexit referendum. At present, the ‘soft’ border with the neighboring Republic of Ireland facilitates trade and the movement of people.”
There are thousands who cross the border between Ireland and North Ireland, mainly for work and other purposes, without having to show a passport or go through police checkpoints. That could soon change, unless both remain part of the EU.
Bloomberg reports, “The driving assumption of that agreement (Good Friday Agreement of 1998) is that both parts of Ireland would remain members of the EU, so that no borders would be necessary. The EU takes its anchoring role in that agreement seriously. For Ireland, it’s a vital national interest. There are worries that a return to a physical border between the two entities would jeopardize the peace.”
ABWE, The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, works in Ireland to provide mentors to national workers as they seek to share Christ’s love with the people of Ireland.
The ABWE explains, “ABWE’s approach to ministry in Ireland is to mentor and provide assistance to our Irish partners as they build faith communities and churches. Currently we have six families working to support national Irish pastors in five different churches and locations.”
Please pray for those who are trying to figure out Brexit and the Irish border situation, that they would be able to figure out how to best deal with Ireland and North Ireland.
Pray for the missionaries working in Ireland, that they would be able to spread out throughout the country to help nationals in their work.
Bloomberg: Brexit Vexes Ireland, So Ireland Vexes the U.K.
Fin 24: UK and EU agree to Brexit divorce bill, Irish hurdle remains
CNN: Theresa May warned to change course over Brexit and Irish border