Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

Brexit border in Ireland could lead to violence, spies warn MPs

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – Any customs or security checkpoints imposed on the Irish border after Brexit would immediately become targets for attacks by dissident Republican groups and risk violence in Belfast, a UK parliamentary committee said.

In a report published on Monday (Oct 5), the Intelligence and Security Committee highlighted interviews with MI5 – the agency responsible for countering domestic terrorism.

The cross-party panel of members of Parliament said “border infrastructure would be symbolic for dissident republican groups, and would inevitably be used as a recruiting tool.”

Brexit “could also reignite the threat from loyalist groups that have previously held a cease-fire,” the MPs added.

The warning comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to hammer out a trade deal with the European Union and other nations.

The EU is suing the UK after Johnson moved to re-write sections of the Brexit deal to leave the bloc, bringing the prospect of a hard border in Ireland to the top of the political agenda again and risking more than two decades of peace.

US Presidential nominee Joe Biden has said any trade deal with the US would be contingent on preventing the return of a hard border in Ireland, underscoring how the prime minister is struggling to contain the political fallout from his plan to unilaterally rewrite the divorce treaty.

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