Why is Northern Ireland still so violent

New riots and violence : Why the situation in Northern Ireland is extremely dangerous

Days of riots in Northern Ireland with more than 70 police officers injured and property damage running into millions have been a painful reminder for the British and their conservative head of government: 100 days after the final EU exit and 100 years after the division of Ireland, the northeast of the Emerald Isle remains a scene unresolved conflicts.

These have centuries-old causes: ethnic and religious resentment between the London-oriented Protestants and the Irish Catholic nationalists, poverty and a lack of prospects, but also the traumatization after 30 years of civil war with more than 3,500 dead.

Britain's exit from the European project has added an insoluble problem. It was not for nothing that the exit negotiations revolved around the following questions for months: How can the pacification process that began with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 be maintained? How do you keep the border open between the republic in the south and the British part? The answer came from the Northern Ireland Protocol. It guarantees that the whole of Ireland will remain largely undisturbed in the European internal market, but requires limited customs and goods controls between the troubled province and the British main island.

This consequence embittered the Protestants loyal to the Union. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should have advertised them - and he should have apologized for the fact that his slogan “No border in the Irish Sea” was untenable. Instead, he denied the facts, even when the supermarket shelves remained empty because of the time-consuming controls.

In the meantime, London has unilaterally extended the transition periods for customs and veterinary controls, while Brussels is taking legal action. The commission has contributed to the uncertainty by briefly considering the blockade of the land border in the dispute over Astrazeneca at the end of January.

But the main problem remains London. The Brexiteers do not want to admit that leaving the EU will have negative consequences. Johnson had demonstratively awarded himself the title of "Minister for the Union" when he took office. In addition, the Northern Irish are being abandoned by their own politicians.

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The Protestant hate preacher Ian Paisley and the Catholic ex-terrorist Martin McGuinness each had blood on their hands in their own way. But the gnarled bellhammers, long dead, had strategic foresight and the will to compromise in the all-party government. Her mediocre successors Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill lack both. That makes the situation extremely dangerous.

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