Sarah Creighton

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Shoppers on Belfast High Street. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Being from Northern Ireland is exhausting. Being from Northern Ireland and experiencing Brexit is maddening. Two years ago Boris Johnson hailed the withdrawal agreement, which established the Northern Ireland protocol, as an “oven-ready” deal. The EU patted itself on the back. We knew better. We had an inkling of what was to come.

Here we are, almost a year since the protocol was actually implemented, and we’re still talking about it. After declaring that there was no Irish Sea border, after ignoring the fact that businesses in Northern Ireland were sounding the alarm about its implications, the EU and the UK government are still trying to fix their mess.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police attend the scene at Cloughfern roundabout, Newtownabbey, as loyalist protesters hijack and burn vehicles on 4 April 2021. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Before scenes of rioting in Belfast started to hit the national news, messages pinged across social media. On Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter calls went out for people to take to the streets. One message said protesters needed to “shut down Northern Ireland” and to “stand up and be counted”.

While it was mainly teenagers who rioted in Belfast, that doesn’t mean the situation wasn’t serious. Eight police officers were injured in the clashes. Businesses were damaged. On 4 April there was further violence in Newtownabbey. Cars were hijacked and burned on the road. The scenes were repeated on Monday night. Local communities have to pick up the pieces.…  Seguir leyendo »