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HuffPost: Dr Paul Breen comments on DUP’s sense of Britishness and Irish border negotiations

Politics and International Relations 20 December 2017

Paul Breen

Dr Paul Breen, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, has written two blog posts for the HuffPost covering the Irish DUP party’s sense of Britishness and the Irish border aspect of Brexit negotiations.

The first piece, entitled ‘How the Closed Minds of the DUP on Sex, Secularism, Brexit and the Irish Border Could Change the Face of Ireland’s History Books and Statues’, explored how the Irish DUP party’s vision of Norther Ireland’s Britishness could change the mentalities of the next generations of young Irish citizens.

According to Dr Breen, the DUP’s sense of Britishness could be perceived as hypocritical and opportunistic: “The DUP’s Britain is without song, sex, equal rights for all citizens, and women controlling their own bodies. Arlene Foster’s sense of Britishness seems based upon ‘the national flag, the Royal Family, the Armed Forces, British symbols’ and ‘the constitutional reality’.” 

He further explained that while the DUP considers Northern Ireland as a significant integral part of Britain, the party seems to refuse to follow some of the rules England follows.

He added that the DUP’s hypocritical mentality could paradoxically help in the unity of Ireland: “By not embracing change and open borders, Arlene Foster seems determined not just to alienate Irish nationalists but also progressive young unionists. From my own research in early 2016, it was apparent that nationalists were content to live within a Northern Ireland that promised them equality, but by Arlene Foster’s inability to deliver that, this growing and increasingly confident demographic has become more radicalised in its thinking. Many nationalists now want to see Ireland united in a European framework, as do some young unionists.”

His second piece, entitled ‘Another Manic Monday in Irish Border Negotiations’, dealt with the manic confusion engendered following the President of the European Council, Mr Tusk’s tweet ‘Tell me why I like Mondays!’ implying that progress had been made on the issues of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland as part of the Brexit negotiations.

He commented: “On yet another manic day of negotiations, stories of an impending deal faded into a diluted sense of still working towards one. At first it had appeared as if EU negotiators and the British government had formulated the wording of a text which would form the basis of an agreement on what would happen in Ireland after Brexit. But as the hours passed, the Democratic Unionist Party and others intervened to express reservations and opportunistic intentions. Very soon, it became clear that nothing would be resolved.”

Read the blog post ‘How the Closed Minds of the DUP on Sex, Secularism, Brexit and the Irish Border Could Change the Face of Ireland’s History Books and Statues’ on the HuffPost official website.

Read the blog post ‘Another Manic Monday in Irish Border Negotiations’ on the HuffPost official website.

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