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    A Motorist crosses the Irish border in Middletown, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, March, 12, 2019. The issue of a possible physical border between the United Kingdom's Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU state, received scant attention during the 2016 Brexit referendum. But it has proven to be a major stumbling block in the British government's quest for a divorce deal.

    Professor Doubts Hard Border Between UK and Ireland to Re-Emerge Amid Brexit Uncertainty

    © AP Photo / Peter Morrison
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    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has met with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin as both leaders aim to safeguard their respective countries’ economic and political futures in the post-Brexit era. Liam Kennedy. Emeritus Professor in Economic History from the Institute for Irish Studies at Queen’s University, has shared his opinion on the possibility of a compromise on the Irish backstop.

    Sputnik: Could Ireland and the EU compromise over the backstop?

    Liam Kennedy: The Irish government has always made it clear that they are not negotiating with Britain, the UK is negotiating with the EU 27. That said; I would expect that Dublin is rather worried that we are heading towards a no-deal Brexit, or that we may be heading towards a no-deal Brexit.

    I suppose if Dublin signals privately to Brussels and to Michel Barnier the Chief EU negotiator that there were some possibilities for compromise, I think Michel Barnier would take that quite seriously. Publicly nothing would be said, I expect very bland statements at the end of the day, but it’s getting very late in the game and nerves are quite taught in Dublin, London and Brussels so is it possible that some kind of signals could be sent privately, but whether these amount to anything very much at the end though is completely open.

    Sputnik: Would a no-deal Brexit lead to an outbreak of violence in Ireland?

    Liam Kennedy: I just don’t see a hard border re-emerging in the form it was there in the past, though it is the case if it’s two different jurisdictions and two different trading areas, pursuing different trading policies, then some kind of checks will be necessary.

    I suspect both Dublin and London will try and ensure that these checks are well away from the border and that there’s no obvious infrastructure, so in that sense, I don’t see say the dissident Republican IRA launching a border campaign.

    However; even in the absence of a visible border extreme Republicans are still in the business of trying to drive the British out of Northern Ireland, and that will continue, but to what extent it continues depends very much on how effective the British Army, police in Northern Ireland and the southern security forces are in containing this threat, this threat won’t go away whatever happens.

    Sputnik: Would a no deal Brexit damage Ireland’s economy?

    Liam Kennedy: It will damage it quite badly. There was a report given to the Irish government last week and some of the cabinet members according to reports in the Irish Times and other media were shocked by how serious the implications might be.

    It’s very hard to say with so many of these issues until we actually bite the bullet, but it’s not expected that the Irish economy will go into recession, but it is virtually certain that there will be a major decline in the economic growth rate.

    The Irish economy is booming at the moment and sectors that would be particularly badly hit are agriculture and the hospitality industry. There are suggestions that there could be around 10,000 redundancies.

    It’s not Armageddon, it’s not a catastrophe on the scale of the 2009 collapse of the Irish economy, but it will be painful.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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

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    economy, Ireland, Brexit, hard border, U.K
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