Brexit: A Breach in the Peace

Reading the papers this past few days, two things have been on my mind. First, the Irish Tanaíste, or deputy PM, has been rushing through legislation in advance of a No-Deal Brexit. Which will almost inevitably mean a hard border close to where I live. Then, reading on what the implications are on certain details of life in post-Brexit Britain, I read that the EU pet passport will not longer apply to holidaymakers who want to take their pets on European vacations. Now that doesn’t sound terrible, but it did make me wonder about people round where I live who take their pets to the vet in Enniskillen. That would be taking a pet out of the EU into a non-EU state. So where does that leave doting pet owners. Moreover, where does that leave the vet with a sizeable cross-border clientele? And if more had been made of not being able to take your hound on holiday, maybe the Brits would have voted Remain.

But what makes me really sad is that for me the EU was always about trying to create some justice, peace and reconciliation on a continent shriven by terrible, terrible wars. There was sectarian and ethnic strife, but for the most part, they were contained and were addressed. For the past twenty years the EU has funded four different phases of the Peace and Reconciliation process in Ireland.It’s not perfect, but it has made a huge difference. Who would have thought you could create the first cross-border Geopark on the planet in a place that had previously hosted army patrols not ten years earlier? Or, when fracking was threatened that all communities cross border united to see off the companies who wanted to drill. Frackers have a modus operandi of divide and conquer. In this cross-border area they cemented are sense of common cause.

A Breach of the Peace

It was not for cheap olive oil
or surplus sugar beet.
It was never the point
to build a butter mountain
even if that was the byproduct.
It was to stop making killing fields
generation upon generation.

Kids now having kids
in Northern Ireland today
can barely remember the army patrols
marching in full battle dress
past Boots the Chemists,
the bakers, the butchers.
Their ears don't pop to bomb blasts.

Lest we forget,
it was never about
oceans of surplus dairy fat.
It was to level the playing fields
built over a continent pitted
with century old bomb sites.
To stop the blood shed.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

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