Safeguarding the Union

Gary Neal
The Silent Politician
3 min readFeb 19, 2024

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The future of Northern Ireland

Photograph of Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Stormont — Image by veve from Pixabay

Northern Ireland is set to take another step in its tortured history with the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and the European Union. It was “protocoled” after Brexit, then a sticking plaster applied called the Windsor Framework, and the last two years without a functioning government, being actively managed by civil servants in Belfast.

A Brief History

When the UK was part of the European Union, Northern Ireland enjoyed the same status. When the UK took the momentous decision to leave the EU, it left Northern Ireland out on a limb. Ultimately the Northern Ireland Protocol was drawn up

Northern Ireland protocol

This was to ensure that there was no hard land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It was designed to protect the Irish economy and the Good Friday Agreement.

It also safeguarded the integrity of the EU single market. Effectively, it meant Northern Ireland stayed within the EU. The downside was the massive increase in bureaucracy, the reduction in companies willing to trade with Ireland and the EU, and mountains of paperwork and customs declarations.

Windsor framework

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Gary Neal
The Silent Politician

Retired taxi driver, creative writer, experimental poet, computer enthusiast, web design and learning to program