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The debate – Changing of the guard: the status quo in Northern Ireland upset by Brexit?

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Where are the political winds blowing in Northern Ireland? The centenary of the decision to stay in the UK has been overshadowed by infighting within the Democratic Unionist Party of outgoing Prime Minister Arlene Foster, expelled by her own base. We ask if this signals a new turn to the right for the Christian fundamentalist, pro-Brexit DUP, who opposed Theresa May’s trade deal but with Boris Johnson now finds himself with a border in the Irish Sea.

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The unintended consequences of Brexit include rising sectarian tensions recently with the worst riot in years. More than two decades after the Good Friday Agreement, why are there still sectarian tensions and indeed some of the worst poverty in Europe on both sides of the divide?

But there is also strong evidence against a return to a near-civil war state known as Troubles: 56% of Northern Irish voters chose to stay in the EU. This means that Unionists and Republicans have found themselves on the same side. Is their cause better served by sticking to Britain or by holding a unification referendum with Dublin?

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Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Léopoldine Iribarren.


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