With the current focus on negotiations over Brexit and the Irish Border, the Government’s partner, the DUP, have been very loud in their objection to the argument that an open border with the Republic of Ireland should be the primary objective of negotiations. They fear, we may suppose, that in order to achieve this outcome, the Government will agree to some kind of internal UK border running down the Irish Sea, which, from a DUP perspective, would be a dilution of their status as British.
What has been given scant attention in this discussion, is that a majority of the Northern Irish population voted in favour of remaining in the European Union. It follows that significant numbers of Unionists voted to remain. The DUP therefore, in their stance on Brexit, represent a minority Northern Irish opinion.
An arrangement which is acceptable to a majority in Northern Ireland should be the objective of negotiations, rather than an arrangement which suits only the DUP. Needless to say, this presents a problem for a government reliant on the support of the DUP to stay in power.
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