Brexit might bring trouble for Ireland

Many people in Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, worry that Brexit might bring back old tensions again and even rekindle violence. They worry that it will bring back the physical border with its manned posts or security cameras. In the late 20th century the border was the front line in a conflict known as “the Troubles”. On one side stood the republicans, seeking a united Ireland, and on the other side soldiers with the task to maintain British rule over Northern Ireland. Some 3,600 people died due to the conflict, with victims on both sides.

In 1998 a peace was negotiated and with it the military checkpoints and watchtowers gradually disappeared. Today the border is more or less invisible with 200 official crossing points and many more unofficial ones. Only different road signs and a change in the asphalt tell you that you have crossed from one country into another. The partition line twists and turns through farmland, schoolyards and even homes. There is an old saying in Northern Ireland that the person who drew that line must have had a little too much whiskey.

Now Brexit threatens to bring back the conflict and with it the border between the two countries. 56% in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union. Now it must be negotiated anew how to keep the border invisible. Although both the EU and the UK said they don’t want a so-called hard border, Europe has border control with every country outside the customs union, which the British government intends to leave. So time will tell the potential impact Brexit has on Ireland.

to worry (ˈwʌri) – sich Sorgen machen

tension (ˈten(t)ʃən) – die Spannung

even (ˈi:vən) – sogar, selbst

to rekindle (ˌri:ˈkɪnd) – etw wieder entfachen

manned (mænd) – bemannt

post (pəʊst) – der Posten

border (ˈbɔ:dəʳ) – die Grenze

task (tɑ:sk) – die Aufgabe

to maintain (mnˈtn) – etw aufrecht erhalten, beibehalten

to negotiate (nɪˈgəʊʃit) – etw verhandeln

watchtower (wɒtəʳ) – der Wachturm

gradually (ˈgræʤli) – allmählich, Schritt für Schritt

more or less (mɔ:ʳ / les) – mehr oder weniger

invisible (ɪnˈvɪzəb) – unsichtbar

partition line (pɑ:ˈtɪʃən ln) – die Trennlinie, Teilungslinie

to twist (twɪst) – sich winden, drehen

schoolyard (sku:ljɑ:d) – der Schulhof

to threaten (ˈθretən) – drohen

to remain (rɪˈmn) – bleiben, verbleiben

so-called (ˌsəʊˈkɔ:ld) – so genannt

customs union (ˈkʌstəmz ˈju:njən) – die Zollunion, Zollvereinigung

to intend (ɪnˈtend) – etw vorhaben, beabsichtigen

impact (ˈɪmpækt) – der Einfluss, Auswirkung