At the start of this week a bomb was left close to the border in County Fermanagh. Thankfully no one was injured but the intention was to injure and kill police officers. It is a reminder of what could lie ahead if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal on October the 31st and it would appear that Boris Johnston either doesn’t understand this or doesn’t care.
It is fantastic that a whole generation of young people have grown up living in this country in relative peace. I was looking at the excellent RTÉ programme ‘Reeling in the Years’ last week and it was a grim reminder of what life was like here during the 70s 80s and 90s.
I know that here in Roscommon we were far enough away from the violence that it did not affect most people but every day we got up during that time there was news of some atrocity or other. Thousands of people’s lives were ruined forever as the men of violence held sway.
The facts of the matter are that if the UK pulls out of the EU without a deal there will be a return to a hard border and checks will be inevitable. It will give dissident republican and loyalist groups a reason to re-commence the violence and people will lose their lives as a result.
Let’s leave the economy aside for a minute. Border posts and security will be a like a red rag to a bull and violence would be certain to follow. Arlene Foster and her crowd are prepared to put their own people’s lives in danger to preserve ‘the union’ while Sinn Fein are sitting on the sidelines as the lack of any political leadership is dragging Northern Ireland back into the dark ages.
A lot of the young people that I speak to would not be able to comprehend why anyone would be bombing and shooting each other but it’s a real possibility unless some real leadership is forthcoming and sense prevails.
There is an onus on everyone to re-double their efforts to ensure that this situation does not come about. Not only Boris Johnson, the EU and Leo Varadkar, but all political parties and none. The pressure must be put on all elected representatives and major organisations to do whatever they can to ensure that we do not return to the days of the past. There are just about 70 days left to go and after that it will be too late.
It took most of a decade of behind the scenes talks to set up the peace process that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement. It took that long for people to trust each other. Once the horse has bolted then it’s too late. We simply cannot afford to go back to those days again. We can only hope and pray that someone will make Mr. Johnson and Arlene Foster see sense.
The blame game has already started. If there is no deal and violence returns it will be blamed on Ireland and the EU. To return to the bomb and the bullet cannot be allowed to happen.