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PostWhy Does the DUP Oppose the "Irish Backstop"? (Patrick Mears, Germany, 09/10/19 3:56 am)
Before I address John E's question on my latest post (September 9th), I must apologize for my bad arithmetic. There are 32, not 34, counties in Ireland: 6 in the North and 26 in the South. Shame on me.
I believe that John is right that the underlying concern of the Protestant Unionist community in Northern Ireland concerning the proposed "Irish Backstop" is a basic fear that their region will be united with the Republic of Ireland via a border poll as provided in the Belfast Agreement. Arlene Foster and other officials of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland have objected to the Backstop on the ground that, if it were to be implemented, the Backstop would require "different treatment" of Northern Ireland concerning trade matters and procedures arising between the UK and the Republic. Thus, the DUP argues, this undesired development would "threaten the constitutional order between Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain."
A similar objection has been voiced by this community over "placing the border in the Irish Sea," i.e., having border checks in Northern Ireland's ports for some traded goods shipped from England, Scotland or Wales and arriving via boat in these ports. In an effort to resolve this objection, there has been talk of having these checks performed somewhere "away from the border," which I take to mean prior to loading the goods on board ship for transport to Northern Ireland. However, this second objection still stands, as far as I know.
JE comments: For Americans raised on baseball, a backstop is the wall behind home plate. The proposed Irish example is the opposite: an open border between North and South. Hence my confusion. I now understand that the backstop refers rather to the Irish Sea "border" opposed by the DUP.