My feed

to access all these features


to ask if you know what the Irish backstop is and do you care

225 replies

HurricaneFloss · 28/09/2018 12:16

If you know what it is, please explain it very simply to me.

If you care - why?

If you don't - why?

OP posts:
ImperfectTents · 28/09/2018 12:26

To prevent a hard border in Ireland due to leaving the eu n. Ireland will remain in the eu as regards to customs. There will then be a hard border between Ireland the uk. This threatens the union between n. Ireland and uk. I care as I see it as a threat to peace in Ireland.

TheVeryHungryDieter · 28/09/2018 12:27

The backstop is, in a nutshell, that the British government give a commitment that whether or not there is a deal there will be no border on the island of Ireland.

The commitment means that UKGov are obliged to do whatever it takes to maintain that - which means ultimately accepting either a sea border and splitting the UK, or accepting on a UK-wide basis the customs union and single market rules.

I care because that's not happening "over there". It's here. I'm Irish. But the Troubles didn't happen in Ireland, although we heard a lot about it, up close and personal as it were. "The Troubles" was a civil war that took place in the United Kingdom. It's in living memory for most of us, and the tensions aren't gone. I grew up listening to reports of reprisals, arms dumps, plastic bullets, rubber bullets, MK-16s on the news every day. Used to hear it at lunch breaks from school on the radio.

There hasn't been a long enough period of time passed to sweep the whole thing under the carpet, even though it's "out of sight, out of mind" on the mainland.

astoundedgoat · 28/09/2018 12:27

There isn't one - a backstop. It's an agreement that they can't and probably won't ever make.

And I do care. Although I'm Irish, I live in England now, and anticipate living here for many more years. I care because I believe that the UK needs to sort out its attitude towards NI. They want it but most don't give a shit about it. It's a rare person on this island who can tell you where the border is, what the government is or believes, what the Good Friday agreement is, what abortion law is there, or indeed anything about the place. Which wouldn't matter, except that about half the people there want very much for the rest of the UK to pay attention and remember that they are part of the UK, and should be treated as such.

As an Irish person, I have a vague interest in a united Ireland, but the UK has ignored the North for so long, and let its economy stagnate so badly that I don't think we could afford to run it right now anyway. I don't mean any disrespect to the the people of Northern Ireland when I say that - I mean that they have been ignored and treated as a "problem" for too long, whatever way they vote.

The Brexit issue is at the very least reminding people in this country that Northern Ireland exists and needs to be taken seriously. They voted to remain and instead, are being dragged out of the EU, and into another border row.

LivLemler · 28/09/2018 12:29

My understanding is that it means NI will remain in the single market and customs union when the rest of the UK leaves the EU.

This would mean no need for a hard border between NI and Ireland, which is something all parties have said they want to achieve, and IMO is essential.

However,it will effectively put a border in the Irish sea, as goods will have to be checked between NI and GB. The DUO are staunchly unionist (i.e., want NI to remain part of the UK) and so are against this. Which is understandable IMO, but I think it will have to happen.

My understanding was that the UK had signed up to the backstop and that it was legally in place. It seems the UK has reneged on that,which is one of the reasons the EU and Ireland in particular are unhappy.

I'm from Ireland and have lived in NI for ten years. It is hugely important,and hugely important to me.

TheVeryHungryDieter · 28/09/2018 12:41

@LivLemler they haven't. It was in the December agreement but prefaced with "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed".

Some think the UK commitment was given in bad faith purely to get negotiations on to the next stage as politically they cannot and will not stand by it.

LivLemler · 28/09/2018 12:49

I was following more closely back then, and my impression was that the EU and Ireland thought it was signed and sealed, and the UK went home and effectively said "psych!". I remember varadkar seeming less than impressed.

However, since then a baby has arrived and I'm sleep deprived and far too lazy to go searching through old articles. Grin

Ninoo25 · 28/09/2018 12:54

I feel other PPs have described it quite well. It does matter to me very much. I’m not Irish and live in the North of England, but it is still important to me as I don’t want to see any instability and possible return to tensions in Northern Ireland (who would FFS?) I see a massive flaw in the backstop arrangement being that the DUP won’t agree to a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and lots of the Brexiteer MPs won’t agree to there being open borders on the island of Ireland without there being a border between NI and the rest of the UK (otherwise it means there would effectively be no border between the UK and the EU, ie no end to freedom of movement etc)
It’s a right old mess and should be (but doesn’t seem to be) of vital importance to our government to sort it out IMO!

HurricaneFloss · 28/09/2018 12:56

Thanks for replies.

So if, say, Germany wanted to export some apples (bear with me!) to Ireland, once in Ireland those apples could then be traded to Northern Ireland without going through border checks(?) but if the apples then wanted to come to England/Wales/Scotland from NI, they would have to go through border checks. Is that right?

And this border "in the Irish Sea" - they don't mean a floating thing in the sea, do they? They mean on the coast of NI/England or Wales or Scotland?

^My naivety on the above matter is why I, as a remainer, never suggest leavers are thick, btw.

OP posts:
LivLemler · 28/09/2018 12:58

Your understanding is the same as mine, OP.

ArtemisWeatherwax · 28/09/2018 12:59
Apileofballyhoo · 28/09/2018 13:00

Backstop is the agreement for NI to stay in the single market and customs union when the rest of the UK exits the EU. This is to avoid a hard border between NI and the rest of Ireland. The reason to avoid a hard border is to avoid disruption of the peace in NI.

I care because I don't want any more people to be injured or killed.

ImperfectTents · 28/09/2018 13:01
Ninoo25 · 28/09/2018 13:03

I think what they mean by sea border is the same that would apply between the UK mainland and other countries once we leave the EU.
There wouldn’t be a physical wall built in the sea or anything, but export paperwork etc would need to be filed in the country the goods are leaving and then they would need to be checked and clear customs when they arrived in the UK port. I think this is what they mean anyway. I used to work in export and trading with countries outside the EU was a very long winded process, normally using a third party customs agent.

ImperfectTents · 28/09/2018 13:05

Artemis that poke video is v good. Shame we didn't have a few of those during the remain campaign

Thomasinaa · 28/09/2018 13:06

Seems to me that putting the border in the Irish sea would be a benefit to Northern Ireland. I wish that we in Scotland had the opportunity to stay in the customs union and single market. But the DUP see it as a weakening of the close ties between NI and the rest of the UK and won't vote for it.
The obvious solution to this problem as well as all the other crap is to cancel Brexit. We would all then be wealthier, free-er and safer. But apparently it's imperative that we destroy our country, for the sake of a few billionaires and Russia.

HurricaneFloss · 28/09/2018 14:06

Have Labour said what they would do regarding the backstop?

What's Boris's bright idea?

OP posts:
NotAnotherJaffaCake · 28/09/2018 14:14

Northern Irish born and bred.

If NI is part of the Uk, how come they get lots of benefits as if they got to remain? I didn’t vote Leave, I live in a staunch Remain area and would dearly love for Brexit to be not happening.

I get that NI is a special situation, but it does pave the way for a united Ireland, as well as enhancing the differences between parts of the UK. The issue of a United Ireland is too important and contentious to happen as a consequence of Brexit.

TheVeryHungryDieter · 28/09/2018 15:53

I have no particular desire for a United Ireland. In fact I think it would be an absolute nightmare for Dublin to administrate and cost more than Ireland is willing to pay for it, and the thinking is more "we could dig a trench along the border and if NI became an island or floated off over the horizon most people in the republic wouldn't miss it". This is just politically speaking, obviously, not to slag NI, it's a lovely warm-hearted place with stunning scenery and I very much enjoyed my last trip.

That said, I could never have thought we would hear this proposed as a viable solution to another political crisis. I never thought a United ireland would be something spoken about as achievable within my lifetime.

The aim of the GFA was to get everyone to stay quiet and stop causing trouble for as long as possible until it all got forgotten about or until people got used to living in peace. We hadn't quite got there, there's still some loyalist/republican gang violence and marching season is always contentious, but it was getting there, I think. The Brexit nonsense followed by thrusting the DUP into the Westminster spotlight has weakened the assurances of the GFA and trust is running low, which I think is worrying, but to so many brexiteers it's all happening "over there" and is "the Irish at it again". Never mind the fact that Irish and Northern Irish is not at all the same thing....

bellinisurge · 28/09/2018 15:55

Border in the sea

HurricaneFloss · 28/09/2018 16:33

@bellinisurge - do you mean that's what Boris wants? Could he get that through parliament without DUP support? Would Labour support a border in the sea?

OP posts:
bellinisurge · 28/09/2018 17:47

Boris thinks the border isn't an issue. He doesn't give a shit.

HurricaneFloss · 28/09/2018 20:45

Yes, that was clear when Channel 4 tried to get an interview with him tonight.

OP posts:

Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

bellinisurge · 28/09/2018 20:52

I care a lot, op. One of the many reasons I voted Remain.

Jason118 · 28/09/2018 22:16

I care a lot also, hence remainSmile

changehere · 28/09/2018 22:17

The backstop is not a sea border and it is total hyperbole to describe it as such. There would not be passport checks and people would be free to move as now.

However, there would be some checks on lorries and goods on the ferries. This already happens now for animals where Ireland is one country for animal produce and where the DUP, during the foot and mouth crisis, argued that their cows were Irish cows.

The backstop is a sensible proposal which allows an open border. There will be some checks on some lorries but this can be done on the ferry/ at the port and nothing compared to the disruption of trying to impose a land border. NI will still be part of the UK and this will not change without a referendum. There probably are a majority of people in NI who would vote for a sea border over a land border (ideally no borders at all would be better). The DUP do not speak for all or even most of NI

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.