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Unionists express 'growing discontent' over Brexit deal via graffiti and social media

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee heard evidence from the PSNI this afternoon.

Mark McEwan, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable, giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee.
Mark McEwan, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable, giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee.
Image: PA Images

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have said they are noticing “growing discontent”, expressed via graffiti and social media, among unionists over its post-Brexit divergence with Britain.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan told lawmakers that the coronavirus pandemic had so far helped in “moderating people’s behaviour in terms of the desire to protest”.

“Were we not in this current environment, we would probably see a more visible outworking of that on the streets,” he said.

Unionists are angry over the new customs checks and regulations required on goods travelling across the Irish Sea, complaining there is now a border between the region and Great Britain.

Discontent in the Protestant, unionist, loyalist community is being expressed in graffiti and on social media, McEwan told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

The new checks came into effect as a result of the Brexit deal struck between the UK and the European Union on Christmas Eve, taking effect on New Year’s Day.

Northern Ireland is still in the EU’s Single Market for goods, enabling it to keep a soft border with the Republic of Ireland.

However, the rest of the Britain has left the Single Market so checks are now needed when shuttling goods across the Irish Sea.

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Some Northern Ireland politicians have warned that the new arrangements forced by Brexit could shatter the delicate peace that has held for over two decades.

In the past four years since the Brexit vote tool place, a lot of emphasis has been put on preserving the Good Friday Agreement, which brought about peace after decades of political upheaval and violence.

Because of this, the Irish government called for a border along the island of Ireland to be avoided at all costs, and this was included in the Withdrawal Agreement in the form of the Northern Irish Protocol.

In four years’ time, the Northern Ireland Assembly will vote on whether to keep or reject the current trading arrangements. 

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AFP

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