Dutch financial daily considers Brexit implications for Londonderry border

The potential tightening of the border between Londonderry and Donegal in the event of Brexit, as reported on by the Sentinel before Christmas, has made the pages of the Dutch financial daily, Het Financieele Dagblad.

In December the Sentinel reported how a briefing paper developed in partnership with academic experts from the Queen’s University, Belfast, and University College Cork, warned Northern Ireland could be destabilised and elements of the Belfast Agreement might have to be torn up if Brexit is approved.

Following our report the cross-partisan lobby group, Leave.EU, dismissed the concerns as “scare-mongering.”

But Professor David Phinnemore, one of the reports authors, responded, stating: “The briefing paper does not argue that dragon’s teeth could return, nor does it maintain that a Brexit would threaten insecurity and sealed borders. It poses questions.”

Last week the debate reached Amsterdam after Het Financieele Dagblad UK correspondent, Mathijs Schiffers, visited Londonderry to examine the potential impact Brexit would have in the border area.

Mr Schiffers also spoke to Professor Phinnemore during his visit to Northern Ireland.

He writes: “The professor collaborated on a recently published report in which questions about the consequences of Brexit for Northern Ireland were raised. The possible return of border controls and the uncertainty about the EU peace millions were cited by the report.

“The piece caused quite a stir in the local media, where Brexit supporters quickly complained about ‘scare-mongering.’

“Phinnemore can’t sit with them: ‘We have only questions. Will the peace process be disturbed by a Brexit? Much will depend on the deal that there then comes up with the EU.

“‘It is clear that the dream of a united Ireland, held by Sinn Féin and others, further fades with a Brexit and you never know what forces that will loose.’

“What does he believe himself? ‘To be part of the EU, without hesitation.’”