Northern Ireland's Brexit Problem

Does It Threaten the Good Friday Agreement's Future?

Parliament buildings at Stormont is seen at night in Belfast, Northern Ireland, February  2018. Clodagh Kilcoyne / REUTERS

Next month, the Irish and British people should be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The agreement serves as the cornerstone of the power-sharing deal between Northern Ireland’s unionists and nationalists that helped bring an end to years of violence. It has cemented a long-term constitutional settlement between the United Kingdom and Ireland, in which both states agree that the people of Northern Ireland are free to choose their own destiny. There won’t be any Happy Birthday party this year, however. The power-sharing arrangement that governs the North is on hold, and some prominent British politicians are suggesting that the deal ought to be abandoned altogether.

The Good Friday Agreement faces real internal challenges. First, the center has fallen out of Northern Irish politics. The more moderate Ulster Unionist Party and Social Democratic and Labour Party that were at the center of the original peace

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