Just Where Does The Good Friday Agreement Demand No Border In Ireland?

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As we all gear up for that liberation from the European Union on March 29 one of the things we keep being told is that the Good Friday Agreement demands that there be no border in Ireland. It is this which leads to all the shouting abut the backstop and all that. And yet, well, as far as I can tell at least, this is not true.

Obviously enough given that there is a border between the Republic and Northern Ireland – I’ve driven over it recently – the GFA cannot be demanding that there is no border. So, perhaps it says that there be no towers and fences? Or border checks? Or something? But if that’s so, where?

In other words, there is absolutely no chance (contrary to what Theresa May seems to be hoping) that the UK’s 27 EU partners will renegotiate the withdrawal agreement reached last November. We can understand the hard Brexiters’ frustration with the famous backstop, but they can’t blame the EU for inventing the Irish problem: the absence of a physical border is a key element of the Good Friday agreement, which put an end to a conflict that was a legacy of England’s colonisation of Ireland. The EU, as guarantor of the peace agreement, cannot accept a deal that would amount to re-establishing a physical border between the two Irelands.

We do keep being told this. But where actually is that insistence?

Here’s the Northern Ireland Act (1998) which is the translation of the Good Friday Agreement into law. Here’s the full text of the Good Friday Agreement. I’m finding it rather difficult to find where there is that insistence upon no border. Or no physical border. Or no towers, guns and goons border.

Can someone help out here? Where actually is this insistence? For it couldn’t possibly be true that it has just been invented by the European Union so they can stick their oar in, can it?

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Pat

Quite.
But even if there were such a clause it should be the responsibility of all parties not to harden the border, and if the EU is indeed guarantor then the EU should be opposing its hardening regardless.
Perhaps if we deployed the Royal Armoured Corps to Ulster with a remit to demolish any posts erected by Eire honour would be satisfied.

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Per Guido it’s better than that. Apparently the backstop proposed to stop a hard border is illegal under EU law, and according to Lord Trimble itself breached the Good Friday agreement.