HOPE not hate has brought together a number of people to give their thoughts on the Brexit process and how it could impact on the future of the province. We get the views of community figures from across the divide, hear the experiences of Northern Ireland’s minority communities and scrutinise the positions of the paramilitaries.
We start with some polling of attitudes of British people to the border issue, where perhaps surprisingly we also see rising anxiety about how a bad Brexit, one which sees the re-imposition of border controls, could plunge the province into violence. So serious do most British people view this threat, that a majority think preventing a return to violence in Northern Ireland is more important than delivering Brexit.
The Good Friday Agreement brought an end to 30 years of conflict, troubles that saw thousands die, dreams and futures shattered and communities ripped apart by violence and fear. Northern Ireland is a very different place now, but the peace is now being tested. Paramilitaries on both sides are itching to return to violence, and Brexit could easily give them the sense of grievance they need as an excuse to act. More widely, a no deal Brexit could devastate Northern Ireland’s economy, and with that the jobs and futures of thousands of people.