UK Prime Minister Theresa May is set to visit Northern Ireland this evening amid high pressures around Brexit negotiations. It will mark her first visit to Northern Ireland since the Brexit vote. Social Democratic, and Labour Party leader, Nicola Mallon has warned Theresa May ahead of her visit today. She said to respect the rights of the NI majority (56%) that voted to remain in the EU. Northern Ireland will become the only UK state to share a land border with an EU country, post-Brexit. This has highlighted concerns over the management of a border in areas of trade, free movement of people and services, and peace.
Ms. Mallon went on to call Tory and Democratic Unionist Party members “reckless”. This was for attempting to undermine the peace accord, the Good Friday Agreement, of 1998. The peace accord was drawn up and signed under the assumption that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would remain EU members without a policed customs border.
Keeping Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and single market is one option that hardliner Brexiteers see as an assault on UK sovereignty. It would effectively cut off Northern Ireland from the UK.
Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Ireland’s left-wing party Sinn Féin, has said that “Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement are mutually incompatible.”Theresa May will arrive later this evening to hear concerns from business leaders. How things will proceed remains unclear, but many MPs hope her visit will provide clarity to those worried over a hard border.