00:08 GMT31 October 2020
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    On Thursday, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that negotiators would finalize a deal for his country’s exit from the EU by the end of this month. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for PM May's office said that the UK government would not agree to any deal establishing a hard border on the island of Ireland.

    Sputnik discussed the situation with Andree Murphy, a journalist who is the Deputy Director of the NGO Relatives for Justice, as well as Belfast-based documentary filmmaker Sean Murray.

    Sputnik: Do people in the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland believe a referendum on a united Ireland is possible?

    Andree Murphy: For people who are living in the 26 counties I think that they are looking and say ‘Well, the conflict is over, we want to ensure that this is a peaceful country now, we see that Brexit is actually undermining peace — undermining the peace agreement — so how can we ensure that the peace is sustained in a united Ireland based on consent, based on a re-imagined relationship with Britain, a re-imagined relationship with people who identify as British on the island of Ireland?' All needs to be discussed. We need to do this with consent and it could be something that's very positive.

    READ MORE: 'Dead in the Water': Brexit No Deal Has All Kinds of Ramifications — Professor

    Sputnik: What do you think would be the reaction of British loyalists to a unified Ireland?

    Sean Murray: That's a very important question because loyalism is always allowed to thrive as proxies for the British government. So we look at that in an international context, loyalism here, in the last thirty, forty years went on as malicious, as right-wing malicious, as you've been seeing in Latin America, for example. And they were used and always helped by the British establishment to quell any Republican operating, like targeting innocent Catholics, to try and remove any support that there might be within the community for armed action against the British.

    But I think now that twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement — we now are twenty years in the peace — but I think that loyalism has the debate or the support amongst the establishment that it used to be. Of course you might see some civil disturbances et cetera, but I think that the time for loyalism to re-invigorate, like they had done many years ago with the support of the establishment, has now gone.

    Sputnik: How will Europe see the reunification of Ireland?

    Sean Murray: One thing Brexit has done is it has brought the Irish Question to the floor internationally. This was just a footnote to European leaders before, and now it's the centre of the debate between Europe and Britain. I think now that what they do see about the belligerence around this establishment, around Brexit, they do see an opportunity for Irish reunification, and I think that most part of them support it.

    Sputnik: How will Europe see the reunification of Ireland?

    Andree Murphy: If you see how Europe approached the reunification of Germany, and they saw that as an opportunity and something that everyone welcomed, but also really rolled our sleeves up into, and re-imagined Europe in a new way after that.. you really see that the European Union changed after the reunification of Germany.

    I think that the reunification of Ireland could offer very similar opportunities, particularly when you look at smaller nations throughout Europe and how they could see something positive, sometimes something that is based on a peace process, and something to which the European Union have had a twenty-year commitment to and really since the peace process began.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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