Onafhankelijke journalistiek over de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | Sinds 1953
15 juli 2024

& Onderwijs

‘Brexit may stir up violence in Ireland again’

It looks like the UK is leaving the European Union on March 29. What does this mean for the VU students from the British isles and Ireland? Five students speak out in the latest issue of Advalvas.

Lloyd O’Mahony (25), from Waterford, Ireland (studies master management & entrepreneurship in health & life sciences): “Ireland will take a hit when a no-deal Brexit happens. It has had a strong economy for the last 25 years, which is partially based on the export of meat, dairy, and pharmaceuticals, a large chunk of which ends up in the UK.

What happens on March 29?
The process to leave the EU was started by the UK on 29 March, 2017, after which both the UK and the EU had two years to negotiate the conditions of the Brexit in a deal. That term ends on 29 March of this year. A European court decided the UK can stay in the EU or extend the process if all 28 EU members agree. But it looks as if the UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March, regardless of whether there is a deal with the EU or not. In that last case we speak of a No-deal Brexit.

A hard Brexit may lead to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This in turn has the potential to stir up violence in Ireland again, because an open border was part of the Good Friday Agreement, in which peace was settled between the IRA and the British government. So it could be argued that reinstating that border is a breach of that peace agreement. Many in Westminster (the British parliament)  don’t understand the potential hardships a hard border in Ireland would cause.

Complete nonsense

A lot of people who voted for Brexit are from forgotten areas like Sunderland and other cities where people feel like they’ve been ignored by a London-centric government, so voting to leave the EU was in many ways a protest against a government that ignored them. The problem is they’ve been completely misled by people like Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Jacob Reese-Mogg, who committed many lies during the leave campaign. One of which was claiming that leaving the EU will free up 350 million pounds on a weekly basis for the National Health Service, which was complete nonsense.

Ireland has a lot to thank the EU for, It has become a prosperous and progressive country with the EU’s assistance.

I have a girlfriend in London, she works there. There were plans for me to move to London too in the future, but Brexit will probably make it a lot more difficult for me to find a job there.”

Read the rest in the new issue of Advalvas, in which a student considers becoming a Dutch citizen because of Brexit and another feels like ‘giving up on the UK’ altogether.


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