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first_imgDonegal TD Joe McHugh has written about how Brexit threatens the Good Friday Agreement, and warns that any physical border will once again divide communities in both the North and the South.Between 1966 and 1999, over 3,600 deaths were recorded. Although the killing subsided during the peace process, they did not stop.On the 22nd of May 1998, the results of an all-Ireland referendum marked an overwhelming desire for peace on the island. 71.1% of voters in Northern Ireland voted yes, with 94.4% voting yes in the Republic. A massive 81% of people in the North cast their votes. In a column for The Guardian, the Government Chief Whip says that the joint peace process was dealt “a severe blow” following the Brexit referendum last June. “As a democrat,” he says, “I respect the vote.”The peace process remains on the backburner elsewhere in the UK, whereas in Northern Ireland it has been a top priority.“It was simply lost in the noise generated by Brexiteers, with no thought among many of them about how leaving Europe would affect us over here on this island.”“As a member of the Irish parliament (the Dáil) for County Donegal, a border county with a land boundary with the Northern Ireland counties of Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh, I can tell you what we don’t want. “There cannot be a return to any sort of physical border, no checkpoints, no technology, no cameras and no personnel. To introduce any of these measures is, in my opinion, a breach of the Good Friday agreement.“We accept the Brexit vote. However, should the UK decide to also opt out of the single market and the EU’s customs union, it will be going against the spirit of the Good Friday agreement and narrows significantly how we can work together in the future.“Now Brexit threatens [the peace process], and our hard-won peace.“Over the past 20 years communities once divided by checkpoints and terror have become whole again.“Families, parishes and businesses have been reconnected. Our peace process has saved lives in ways we never imagined – and includes initiatives such as the Irish government funding world-class cardiac and cancer care centres in Derry so that patients in Donegal can receive treatment there. Critically ill children from Northern Ireland can now be treated in Dublin.“Ireland’s peace process is also Britain’s peace process; it belongs to the people of the UK as much as to the people of Ireland. We have all benefited from it.”McHugh says that relationships with the British Irish Council are good, with recent strides being made in the “journey to reconciliation”; namely the Queen’s visit in 2011 and President Higgins’ British visit in 2014. “Today the men of violence are fewer in number but terror groups on both sides in the North continue to exist, operate and plot murder. A return to the securitisation of the land border on our island will give these evil people the means needed to fund their sickening campaign.“All parties in the Good Friday agreement must continue to honour all elements of it, and its subsequent additions at Stormont House and St Andrew’s – and that includes the free movement of people, without hindrance.“We’ve come too far to go back,” he concludes.TD: “Brexit threatens our hard-won peace and could tear us apart again” was last modified: December 1st, 2017 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Brexitgood friday agreementjoe mc hughpeace processlast_img read more