On the Borders of Contention: Brexit's physical and psychological impact on Britain's border with Ireland

Breen, P. 2022. Forthcoming. On the Borders of Contention: Brexit's physical and psychological impact on Britain's border with Ireland . in: Loussouarn , S. (ed.) Brexit and Its Aftermath UK Bloomsbury Academic.

Chapter titleOn the Borders of Contention: Brexit's physical and psychological impact on Britain's border with Ireland
AuthorsBreen, P.
EditorsLoussouarn , S.
Abstract

There is a “unique political gravity” to Brexit’s impact on Ireland (Gormley-Heenan and Aughey, 2017, p.1). O’Brennan (2019, p. 168) cites Tánaiste Simon Coveney as stating that since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, peace has “transformed the landscape and allowed identity to breathe more freely.” This has been put at great risk because of Britain’s decision to leave the EU and close its “front door to the European continent” whilst paying scant attention to the fact that “the UK’s back door to Ireland is wide open” (McCall, 2018, p. 10). New relationships had developed out of the Good Friday Agreement’s “grand experiment in transnational governance” (O’Brennan, 2019, p. 160) allowing soft spaces and functional geographies (Walsh, 2019) to emerge from conflict zones once deemed both physically and politically impassable. The risk then is a return to hard borders and a subsequent hardening of identity politics. The goal of this chapter and the study herein has been to research the perceptions of people for whom the closing of borders is not a secondary consideration. Through surveys and interviews, I have gathered and synthesised the voices of research participants from a diverse range of backgrounds on both sides of the border in Ireland. Regardless of each personal stance, a common thread emerges from this tapestry of voices – a recognition of all being “changed, changed utterly” (Yeats, 1921). Bringing together a wide range of voices this chapter looks at what such changes might mean for people, both physically and psychologically.

KeywordsBrexit
Good Friday Agreement
European Union
Northern Ireland
Irish border
functional geographies
Book titleBrexit and Its Aftermath
Year2022
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication dates
Published21 Apr 2022
Place of publicationUK
ISBN9780755640799
0755640799

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