Northern Ireland: Brexit diplomatic impasse fuels paramilitary activities and security crackdowns

Irish police confiscated weaponry, ammunition and explosive material near the Northern Irish border on Friday. The Irish police intervention denotes a recent surge in paramilitary activities taking place by unknown nationalist cells across both sides of the Northern Irish border. The operation took place in a warehouse at Louth Village located in near the easternmost city of Dundalk in Ireland and situated 20 kilometres south of the Northern Irish soft boundary line. Police investigations for covert activities near the soft Irish border have intensified in recent weeks as a result of the diplomatic impasse reached on the Brexit backstop question.

As deliberations ensue over the fate of Northern Irish borders, paramilitary activity is on the rise in the region, effectively violating the ceasefire provisions of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. These developments bring the three stakeholders, Britain, Ireland and the E.U., a step closer towards the hardening of Northern Ireland’s seamless borders – invalidating in essence the backstop agreement attained by all parties involved in Brexit deliberations. The backstop agreement endorses the retention of a seamless borderline between Ireland and its Northern counterpart, as a last resort solution to maintain regional peace and security. The seamless borderline was the most important accomplishment of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, effectively concluding three decades of intra-communal violence.

A self-proclaimed militant group, called IRA, undertook the ownership of confiscated ammunition and weaponry and assumed responsibility for a car explosion recorded in previous days in the city of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Violent incidents take place almost on a daily basis across both sides of the border, even though no casualties or serious injuries have been reported yet.

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